About this book
Uncertainty governs our lives. From the unknowns of living with the risks of terrorism to developing policies on genetically modified foods, or disaster planning for catastrophic climate change, how we conceptualize, evaluate and cope with uncertainty drives our actions and deployment of resources, decisions and priorities.
In this thorough and wide-ranging volume, theoretical perspectives are drawn from art history, complexity science, economics, futures, history, law, philosophy, physics, psychology, statistics and theology. On a practical level, uncertainty is examined in emergency management, intelligence, law enforcement, music, policy and politics. Key problems that are a subject of focus are environmental management, communicable diseases and illicit drugs. Opening and closing sections of the book provide major conceptual strands in uncertainty thinking and develop an integrated view of the nature of uncertainty, uncertainty as a motivating or de-motivating force, and strategies for coping and managing under uncertainty.
Part I: Setting the Scene
The Many Faces and Masks of Uncertainty
Adopting Orphans: Uncertainty and Other Neglected Aspects of Complex Problems
Part II: More than a Cabinet of Curiosities: Disciplinary and Practice Perspectives on Uncertainty
When Action Can't Wait: Investigating Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Uncertainty and Religion: Ten Provisional Theses
Uncertainty in the Physical Sciences: How Big? How Small? Is It Actually There At All?
Statistics: An Essential Tool for Model Citizens
A Philosopher's Guide to Probability
Musical Improvisation, Creativity and Uncertainty
Uncertainty as a Creative Force in Visual Art
Historians and Disputes over Uncertainty
Approaches to Uncertain Futures
Embracing Social Uncertainties with Complex Systems Science
Heroin: Injected with Uncertainty
Political Practice: Uncertainty, Ethics and Outcomes
Smoke and Mirrors: Managing Uncertainty in the Public Health Sector
Economists and Uncertainty
Psychology's Ambivalent View of Uncertainty
Uncertainty in Decision-making: Intelligence as a Solution
Emergency Management Thrives on Uncertainty
Uncertainty, Complexity and the Environment
Uncertainty, Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Certainty as Illusion: The Nature and Purpose of Uncertainty in the Law
Part III: Unifying Diversity
The Nature of Uncertainty
Uncertainty Metaphors, Motives and Morals
Coping and Managing under Uncertainty
Part IV: Implications for Risk Assessment and Management
Coping with Deep Uncertainty: Challenges for Environmental Assessment and Decision-making
Risk, Uncertainty and Social Controversy: From Risk Perception and Communication to Public Engagement
Gabriele Bammer is a Professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at The Australian National University and a Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University.
Michael Smithson is a Professor at the School of Psychology at The Australian National University.