Purpose:The paper explores the question of whether the often paradoxical and conceptually contradictory discipline of information retrieval (IR) can be understood more clearly when it is analysed from a dialectical perspective.
Methodology/Approach:Conceptual analysis and literature review.
Findings:A dialectical understanding of meaning can assist in clarifying some aspects of the complex nature of current IR theory.
Research Implications:Philosophy has the potential to explore the conflicts and contradictions in IR and should not be used just as a means of synthesis and resolution. The use of the philosophy of meaning should include a broader understanding of the philosophical oppositions which lie behind the nature of meaning.
Originality/value of paper:This paper suggests a new perspective on the role of meaning in IR: the dialectical model.