Pursuing plausibility

Cynthia Lea Selin, Ângela Guimarães Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


There is a need for a corrective to the cultural and institutional mindsets that seek to calculate incalculable futures. Plausibility is an undertheorised 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
JournalInternational Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy
Issue number2/3/4
Pages (from-to)93-109
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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


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