This paper examines whether reflecting on the future is an activity that is distinct from reflecting on the past or present, and, if so, what are its distinguishing characteristics. The argument begins with a review of Dewey’s (1933) concept of reflective thinking, still not surpassed in its detailed analysis. Dewey’s model of reflection is discussed and some limitations noted. An alternative model to Dewey’s, labelled “reflection as comparison” is outlined, and shown to include the essential components of Dewey’s model, while also extending it to cover assumptional filters. An important role of reflection is to articulate these filters. To demonstrate the reflection-as-comparison model, a case study is presented: a feasibility study for an online community information system in rural Australia. This is asserted to comprise reflection on the future in that it considers alternative futures, actively seeks to identify and bypass assumptional filters, and reperceives this problem situation as a set of interlocking social systems as well as an online information system.
"Reflection on the Future: Its Possibility and Usefulness,"
Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application (JITTA):
4, Article 5.
Available at: http://aisel.aisnet.org/jitta/vol7/iss4/5