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Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay
Chapter 6: Modal Narratives, Possible Worlds and Strategic Foresight
6 Modal narratives, possible worlds and strategic foresight* Charles Booth, Peter Clark, Agnès Delahaye-Dado, Stephen Procter and Michael Rowlinson There is at all times enough past for all the diﬀerent futures in sight, and more besides, to ﬁnd their reasons in it, and whichever future comes will slide out of that past as easily as the train slides by the switch. (William James, The Meaning of Truth, 1909) Introduction In this chapter we advance suggestions for a philosophical system to underpin strategic foresight. In an editorial for a forthcoming special issue of the journal Futures, Mermet et al. (2009) argue that, because of the indeterminate and uncertain nature of the object and subject of the futures studies ﬁeld, futurists have consistently demonstrated a concern for methodology, in part to defend the ﬁeld against external criticism of its legitimacy and of its practices. The existence of the ﬁeld as one concerned with practical application (and with the conjoining of eﬀorts of academics and practitioners) has also arguably tended to result in an overemphasis on methodological codiﬁcation and with it a proliferation of approaches (Bradﬁeld et al., 2005), at a cost of sacriﬁcing theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of suﬃcient depth. This chapter therefore seeks to address Mermet’s and his colleagues’ call for such underpinnings. The chapter is thus not concerned primarily with the practices and methods of strategic foresight, but with the delineation of a potentially useful, supportive and transformational conceptual approach, drawn from outside...
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