The Art of Judgement

The Art of Judgement

Knowledgeable action is not a value-free zone. Differences in the social, economic, cultural, and political order produce radically different patterns of judgement. On occasion, judgment may also be impaired by adverse conditions or technical failure. Judgments also have an implicit nature that expresses itself in action. It is, for example, not always possible to articulate in exact terms the ways in which the ability to make judgements is taught or transmitted. Finally, judgements about perceived risks and threats are decisive at a variety of levels in outlining plans for the future. All these aspects need to be given due attention in the history of planning.

This working group explores, thus, how judgements and decisions are formed. In focus is the inherently dynamic nature of judgements, as they are produced, validated, and reassessed through constant processes of mediation and conflict, both synchronically and diachronically. Members scrutinize in which ways knowledge and expertise are affirmed or rejected, choices are validated by groups and individuals, and planning and, in general, attempts to make things work, are assessed in terms of failure and success.

As part of this broader agenda, the working group encompasses two collaborative projects dedicated to specific aspects of judgement and knowledge production: Accounting for Uncertainty (in cooperation with FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), dedicated to Asia’s diverse historical rationalities of knowing and not-knowing, and Thinking in Many Tongues, focused on the analysis of historical dimensions of plurilingualism and their role in determining the ways in which texts were read and understood.

In its future endeavours, and informed by the feedback collected during its successful 2016 speakers’ series “Judgements,” the Art of Judgement working group aims to address specifically themes that may contribute to connect the history of judgements in planning to current concerns about global change:

  • the ways in which changes are apprehended and judged in science and technology;
  • the historical validity of scientific standards and baselines;
  • the impact of judgements in defining resilience and sustainability in planning.