The paper begins by pointing out the diversity of philosophical positions within information systems, and the range of reactions to this diversity. It then discusses problems within the underlying philosophies of science, particularly positivism and interpretivism. With this as a background, the paper proposes critical realism as an underpinning philosophy that has the potential to overcome both sets of difficulties. The theoretical arguments are practically illustrated by critiques of (positivist) statistical analysis and (interpretivist) soft systems methodology.