Concrete Utopianism. Discovering the Philosophy of the Shared Socio-economic Pathways

  • Gillian Joanne Foster (Redner*in)

Aktivität: VortragWissenschaftlicher Vortrag (Science-to-Science)


This paper argues that the Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs) scenarios for climate change science are an expression of “concrete utopianism”, coined by critical realist originator Roy Bhaskar. The SSPs were developed by a consortium of climate researchers to provide a common understanding of multiple pathways for how the world might face climate change in the future. Although the SSPs were developed with a process, there is no apparent consensus that answers the question, “What is the philosophy of science behind the SSPs?” To investigate this question, the paper applies a comprehensive structured literature review to the collection of published papers that set out the rules and expectations for using the SSPs. The research determines that there is no obvious and concise statement on the epistemological and ontological foundation of the SSPs. However, the author finds that the SSPs are implicitly, if not explicitly, critical realist and concrete utopian. This assertion may be controversial because several prominent critical realist authors disparage predicting social phenomenon in the future. In addition, the paper proposes that the SSPs, as a methodology, influence the philosophical perceptions of the researchers who use it. This is an interesting discussion because the SSPs serve as a brain trust for researchers across disciplines. This is the first paper to discuss the philosophical underpinning of the SSPs.
Zeitraum11 März 201913 März 2019
EreignistitelForum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures
VeranstaltungstypKeine Angaben

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