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Abstract

This is a paper about activities such as information system development and software engineering. The specific aspects of these activities that are being investigated are the academic organization for these studies, and the doctrines that are being taught at departments of computer science, information science, informatics, etc. The paper begins with a critique of the existing division of labour in the academic field. The need to transcend the dominating natural science oriented tradition in design of computer artifacts is argued. To replace this tradition a new foundation guided both by a technical knowledge interest in instrumental control as in the natural sciences and a practical knowledge interest in inter-subjective communication as in the social sciences and the humanities is suggested. It is argued that the dominating doctrine of a rationalistic science of the artificial is too limited, and that it ought to be replaced, or complemented, by a doctrine for a practical art and science of designing computer artifacts. Finally, a teachable programme for a disciplinary base of and art and science of designing computer artifacts is outlined.

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