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"prognosis" Case

Autor:   •  August 2, 2012  •  Essay  •  439 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,446 Views

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“prognosis” of the modern is contrasted with the “prophecy” of the non- or

pre-modern. I do not dispute that the character of contingency in life has

been vastly transformed over human history. The scale and scope of the

effects of unintended outcomes are probably wider now than ever before.

I also do not mean to suggest that unpredictability cannot be a source of

anxiety or other suffering. From neither of these possibilities does it follow,

however, that contingency is more a feature of individual experience now

than it was in an imagined “pre-modern” age. Nor does either invalidate

the more important fact that change, possibility, and opportunity are themselves

forms of contingency which we not only confront and engage but

even pursue and celebrate. To speak meaningfully, then, about the place of

contingency in our lives, our language must strive for, though it may never

truly reach, a normative neutrality.

But the second point concerning an increasing reliance upon experts

for the interpretation of contingencies, most prominent in the work of

Ulrich Beck, also has crucial implications. If, as Ian Hacking (1975, 1990)

and Bruno Latour (1987) suggest, a particular style of reasoning about

chance has, through the dissemination of expertise, come to dominate

much thinking about indeterminacy, then how do we as social analysts

ensure that our own terminology is not itself implicated in this project?

What is more, even if our


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