Quotation Foster, Gillian Joanne. 2019. Concrete Utopianism. Discovering the Philosophy of the Shared Socio-economic Pathways. Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures, Pardee Center for International Futures, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, Vereinigte Staaten/USA, 11.03.-13.03.


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Abstract

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.

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  • Climate change
  • Critical Realism
  • Shared Socio-Economic Pathways

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Concrete Utopianism. Discovering the Philosophy of the Shared Socio-economic Pathways
Event Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures
Year 2019
Date 11.03.-13.03.
Country United States/USA
Location Pardee Center for International Futures, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
URL https://www.scenariosforum2019.com/
JEL A14, Q54

Associations

People
Foster, Gillian Joanne (Details)
Organization
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
2919 Energy research (Details)
2959 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
4118 Renewable energy (also energy sources, raw materials) (Details)
4119 Regenerable raw materials (Details)
4924 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5368 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5912 Social sciences (interdisciplinary) (Details)
5914 Environmental research (Details)
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