Carol Anne says that there are some problems which she feels are "wicked"
and proceeds to cite several instances of them.
On the other hand, I argued previously on this list in L02411 that
problems exist only in the minds of people, and that situations are the
appropriate items to deal with in general treatments. It's not just
semantic here, but rather it is a cognitive concept, in which we have firm
proof that everybody sees complex problems differently (see SPREADTHINK
papers), and while people see situations differently as well, the way they
do so is through differing sets of problems conceived by the various
parties. If you can't get to the level of understanding the varying
perceptions, you will never find a general approaches.
When, in 1972, the Battelle Geneva Laboratories defined a set of "world
problems" which, in the current discussion are "wicked problems", they
queried many people about how these were interrelated. Some of those they
dealt with are examples cited by Carol Anne.
What they found was not what Carol cited: "inherent contradictions,
unknowable structure, indeterminate connections and relationships, etc."
[slightly paraphrased]. What they found was that every single leader had
a different perception of these so-called "problems", greatly dismaying to
them because they had begun with the perception that there would be a
small number of "schools of thought".
>From that outcome, once again reinforcing the concept of SPREADTHINK
(before it was sharply defined and the evidence collected and analyzed),
the motivation to determine the fundamentals behind that situation took
several scholars into studying how belief was formed. That got us into
Charles Sanders Peirce whom, we discovered, had dealt with virtually all
the key issues that could have been dealt with during his lifetime.
It was much later before we found that Alexander Pope had also dealt with
the same set of issues in his poem titled AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
-- JOHN WARFIELD Jwarfiel@gmu.edu