Ethical obligations and futures studies

Ethical obligations and futures studies A debate periodically recurs in Futures Studies circles which concerns the ethical commitment of futurists to a better future. The question is generally posed along two lines of arguments, or more accurately, assumptions. First, futurists have an obligation to work for a better future. Second, this duty implies some degree of effective achievement. I will argue that these are two incorrectly based assumptions. I set aside that it is indeed questionable whether futurists have a greater commitment to the future than any other professional, academic or cultural community. I propose in this essay to postulate that, as a general rule, is better to opt for an ethical low profile approach to the future. What are we to make of the first argument that futurists have a particular ‘obligation’ towards the future? Those who advocate the view that futurists should work for a better future are implying a particularly binding obligation, a greater accountability than other people individually or collectively considered. Why is this so? Why should futurists have a stronger duty than politicians, farmers, teachers, plumbers or cooks or anyone else? It could be argued that it is because of an implicit ‘discipline-centrism’. Arguments that favour the futurists' http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Futures Elsevier

Ethical obligations and futures studies

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Abstract

A debate periodically recurs in Futures Studies circles which concerns the ethical commitment of futurists to a better future. The question is generally posed along two lines of arguments, or more accurately, assumptions. First, futurists have an obligation to work for a better future. Second, this duty implies some degree of effective achievement. I will argue that these are two incorrectly based assumptions. I set aside that it is indeed questionable whether futurists have a greater commitment to the future than any other professional, academic or cultural community. I propose in this essay to postulate that, as a general rule, is better to opt for an ethical low profile approach to the future. What are we to make of the first argument that futurists have a particular ‘obligation’ towards the future? Those who advocate the view that futurists should work for a better future are implying a particularly binding obligation, a greater accountability than other people individually or collectively considered. Why is this so? Why should futurists have a stronger duty than politicians, farmers, teachers, plumbers or cooks or anyone else? It could be argued that it is because of an implicit ‘discipline-centrism’. Arguments that favour the futurists'

Journal

FuturesElsevier

Published: Apr 1, 2006

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