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Reconciling Perspectives in Futures Research and Systems Thinking

The postgraduate course on Philosophical, Methodological and Pragmatic Approaches to Scientific Futures Research was offered by the Finnish Futures Academy at the University of Turku at the end of November 2012.  I had never taken a course on scientific futures research before.  I had never been to Turku before.  Since I was scheduled to be Finland in mid-November, this presented an opportunity to get expert knowledge from leaders in future studies.  I registered for the course.

In the typical style of Finnish intensive courses, a long list of articles was prescribed in advance.  On the course schedule, a lecture for systemic approaches — naming Soft Systems Methodology — was slated on the last of three days.  Working through the articles, the ties between futures studies and systems thinking led me to read about their parallel development, particularly through the 1970s.  While most graduate students would try to relate the course content to their thesis, I’m so far along on my dissertation that that wouldn’t be productive.  Thus, for my presentation, I decided to talk about the prescribed readings in futures research from my perspective founded in systems thinking.

The philosophy of Finnish school of scientific futures is based much in critical realism (via Alan Musgrave) through Wendell Bell (honoured in an August 2011 issue of Futures, edited by Paul Dragos Aligica).  I came to realize that my view of the world is based much more on foundations on the design of inquiring systems, originating from C.Read more (in a new tab)

The postgraduate course on Philosophical, Methodological and Pragmatic Approaches to Scientific Futures Research was offered by the Finnish Futures Academy at the University of Turku at the end of November 2012.  I had never taken a course on scientific futures research before.  I had never been to Turku before.  Since I was scheduled to be Finland in mid-November, this presented an opportunity to get expert knowledge from leaders in future studies.  I registered for the course.

In the typical style of Finnish intensive courses, a long list of articles was prescribed in advance.  On the course schedule, a lecture for systemic approaches — naming Soft Systems Methodology — was slated on the last of three days.  Working through the articles, the ties between futures studies and systems thinking led me to read about their parallel development, particularly through the 1970s.  While most graduate students would try to relate the course content to their thesis, I’m so far along on my dissertation that that wouldn’t be productive.  Thus, for my presentation, I decided to talk about the prescribed readings in futures research from my perspective founded in systems thinking.

The philosophy of Finnish school of scientific futures is based much in critical realism (via Alan Musgrave) through Wendell Bell (honoured in an August 2011 issue of Futures, edited by Paul Dragos Aligica).  I came to realize that my view of the world is based much more on foundations on the design of inquiring systems, originating from C.Read more (in a new tab)

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