Patrik Aspers: Coping with a Complex World

Photo credit: Caroline Dahlberg

Human beings are funny creatures.  We usually want what we don’t have.  Certainty is no exception.  If we are certain of winning a match, we get bored and want more of a challenge.  Then again, should we be uncertain about dominating our rivals, what would we not do to gain certainty?  Future-oriented beings that we are – and who doesn’t thoroughly enjoy a good bet – sociology has probably always set its sights on how humans have dealt with uncertainty.  Indeed, Auguste Comte, one of the discipline’s pioneers, saw the West’s history of institutionalized knowledge production in that light: first theology, then metaphysics, followed by positivity and, finally, science.  The knowledge produced by all four institutions had, and still has, one end in sight: reducing uncertainty about the future.  Professor Patrik Aspers, Chair of the Research Institute of Sociology at the University of St. Gallen, sees uncertainty as an incredible co-creation of humans living in a wild world and asks how, and even whether, uncertainty can really be reduced.  Oh, yeah, and don’t confuse uncertainty with that fancy word “risk;” risk is already far too certain… Come welcome Patrik Aspers to our show and he will share with us his forthcoming and sure-to-be seminal book Uncertainty Reduction: Coping with a Complex World!

When: Wednesday, February 9th, 2022, from 19:00-20:05 Central European Time (1:00-2:05 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

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