Practical Judgment, Narrative Experience and Wicked Problems

in Theoria
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  • 1 University of Florida thiele@ufl.edu
  • 2 University of Oxford Marshall.Young@sbs.ox.ac.uk
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Abstract

Practical judgment can be developed from a wide variety of life experiences upon one condition: the experiences in question are made meaningful through stories. By placing lived experience in narrative form one gains a flexible guide for action. Calculative analysis may usefully supplement, but cannot supplant, narrative knowledge for the decision-maker grappling with the ‘wicked problems’ of social and political life. There is no obvious, or perhaps even feasible, way to determine what constitutes the kind of story that will improve practical judgment and allow for better decisions. It is less the content of stories that requires attention than the process of narrative inquiry, interaction and understanding.

Contributor Notes

Leslie Paul Thiele is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Adaptive Innovation, Resilience, Ethics and Science at the University of Florida. His central concerns are the responsibilities of citizenship and the opportunities for leadership in a world of rapid technological, social and ecological change.

Marshall Young is an Emeritus Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Said Business School, and an Emeritus Governing Body Fellow and Director of the Oxford Praxis Forum at Green Templeton College, both of the University of Oxford. A former Dean of Executive Education, Young directed the highly international Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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