Futuribles Journal n° 282

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Tenir l'impossible pour certain. À propos de l'ouvrage de Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Pour un catastrophisme éclairé

The book by Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Pour un catastrophisme éclairé. Quand l'impossible est certain (Paris: Seuil, 2002) is essential reading; Benjamin Delannoy's review is meant to "rouse humankind from its self-satisfied lethargy" and challenge in particular those concerned with possible futures who are discouraged from thinking that the worst is bound to happen.
At Futuribles we are familiar with the ideas of Ivan Illich, who provided the initial inspiration for Jean-Pierre Dupuy in his argument that basically our model of development contains the seeds of its own destruction. This time, however, J.-P. Dupuy goes much further, and it is interesting to read his criticism of the "principle of precaution" -he stresses its limits, if not indeed its "self-contradictory" character.
In pursuing his examination of risk and uncertainty, he shows how far we are victims of what Alfred Sauvy called "the refusal to see", in particular the alternatives and the sharp breaks. Admittedly a futurologist, unlike a forecaster relying solely on extrapolation from the past, tries to do this. But Jean-Pierre Dupuy, warning us of our myopia, urges us to even greater prudence, "suited to catastrophic times", and to consider such prudence (but wherein?) as something "both necessary and improbable", or rather "certain"...

Mots clefs :Catastrophes | Risques

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