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Being without existing: the futures community at a turning point? A comment on Jay Ogilvy's "Facing the fold"

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PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to put the paper by Jay Ogilvy in the context of current debates around the philosophical foundations of future studies. Design/methodology/approachThe paper takes the form of a review and analyzes the current literature on foresight and philosophy of the future. FindingsThe paper finds that the practical challenge of taking a "scenaric stance", as articulated in "Facing the fold", cannot be addressed without going beyond the typically epistemological solutions proposed by most futurists. Research limitations/implicationsThe challenge is not finding ways to "know" the future, rather to find ways to live and act with not-knowing the future. Practical implicationsThe "scenaric stance" points to a way of embracing what Henri Bergson calls "the continuous creation of unforeseeable novelty." Social implicationsThe "scenaric stance" offers one way of addressing the difficult, often deeply painful challenge of reconciling the desire for certainty with the desire to "be free" ‐ in the Senian sense of capacity ‐ by providing a way to embrace ambiguity and spontaneity. Originality/valueThe emergence of new solutions to how people think about the future rather than what kind of future reflects a confluence of events in the realms of theory and practice. The reason why one needs to and can rethink how one thinks about the future is original to the present conjuncture.

Keywords: Complexity theory; Decision making; Philosophy; Risk management; Scenario planning; Strategy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-07-19

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