June 1, 2009

Epistemology, Social Technology, and Expert Judgement

  • Paul Dragos Aligica

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • R. Herritt

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The article discusses Olaf Helmer's contribution to the development of futures studies by focusing on four basic theses defining his approach. (1) Quasi-laws in social sciences and futures studies can in fact be treated in the same way that the natural laws of the physical sciences. (2) In order to make predictions, one need not appeal to a strict logical derivation, as the "covering laws" doctrine of logical-empiricism suggests. (3) Prediction and explanation are not logically symmetrical as positivists believe, thus the conditions needed for explanation are not those required for prediction. (4) Local, tacit, personal and expert knowledge are crucial in developing a foresight methodology. In conjunction, these four theses open the way to a unique theory of social prediction and to variety of "unorthodox items of methodological equipment for the purposes of prediction in the inexact sciences."

Read the article at ScienceDirect.

Citation: Aligica, Paul Dragos and R. Herritt. "Epistemology, Social Technology, and Expert Judgement: Olaf Helmer's Contribution to Futures Research." Futures: The Journal of Policy, Planning and Futures Studies 41, no. 5 (2009): 253-259.