Ways and modes of utilizing Brunswik’s Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism: new perspectives for decision and sustainability research?
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Several of the comments on the Managing Complexity paper deal with theoretical issues regarding Brunswik’s Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism (TPF) (Mumpower; Hoffrage) or its application to sustainability planning groups (Mieg; Susskind). Other commenters extend the space of application of the TPF to better frame innovation or open data management (Steiner; Yarime) or focus frameworks of how to conceptualize modeling or transdisciplinary processes in sustainable transitioning (Wilson; Dedeurwaerdere). This response paper first clarifies several general issues, such as how to approach the evaluation of single TPF principles such as representativeness, in what way TPF may improve sustainability planning groups’ performance, how sustainability may be conceived as a terminal focal variable, and in what way groups are organisms. Based on an acknowledgment of the eight comments and their groundbreaking ideas, we discuss two shortcomings in the current use of the TPF, i.e., the definition of cues (sign-significates) and the challenge of how motivational and emotional approaches can be related to Brunswik’s framework of how the organism cognitively interacts with its environment. We conclude that the TPF will become a theoretical framework for structuring, representing, describing, understanding, modeling, and managing complex, inextricably coupled human–environment systems. This is of special interest not only for decision sciences but also for planning, environmental, and sustainability sciences. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironment Systems and Decisions
Pages / Article No.
SubjectEgon Brunswik; Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism; Representativeness; Cues; Decision sciences; Planning sciences; Environmental science; Sustainability science
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