Pursuing plausibility

Cynthia Selin, Ângela Guimarães Pereira

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    There is a need for a corrective to the cultural and institutional mindsets that seek to calculate incalculable futures. Plausibility is an under-theorised and illusive concept yet one that critically moves beyond a search for a factual encounter with the future. While not assuming that plausibility will unproblematically lift policy making and technology assessment from failures of both imagination and prediction, teasing apart the tensions latent in the concept is helpful and timely. The articles in this special issue ask: is plausibility another mode of relating to the future that acknowledges an intrinsically uncertain and contingent future? Does plausibility offer a pathway away from the pathologies of prediction and probabilistic thinking to create a more fruitful space to make better decisions? This introductory article describes the intellectual pursuit of plausibility through a description of the contemporary conditions that necessitate a revised approach to uncertainty and a historical account of the rise of probabilistic thinking.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)93-109
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy
    Issue number2-4
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Foresight
    • Innovation
    • Plausibility
    • Post-normal science
    • Scenarios
    • Sustainability
    • Technology assessment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Strategy and Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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