By Niklas Luhmann

loads of realization has been dedicated to possibility study. Sociologists usually have restricted themselves to various recognitions of a society in danger and feature traced out the trails to catastrophe. The exact learn has but to be undertaken. In possibility, now on hand in paperback, Niklas Luhmann develops a theoretical application for such learn. His premise is that the idea that of chance initiatives crucial elements of our description of the long run onto the current. chance is conceived because the chance of triggering unforeseen, not going, and damaging results via a call as a result of a call maker.

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It is true to say for both distinctions that there is no risk-free behaviour. " For the second this means one cannot avoid risks if one makes any decision at all. Anyone following advice and not overtaking in a blind curve runs the risk of not getting along as fast as he could if there were no oncoming traffic. We may calculate any way we wish to do so, and in many cases we may arrive at unambiguous results . But these are only aids to decision making. 59 And in the modern world not deciding is, of course, also a decision.

478. ' original quoted from Novalis, 'Bliithenstaub Nr. 109,' Werke, Tagebiicher und Briefe Friedrich von Hardenbergs , (eds. Joachim Mahl and Richard Samuel) (Darmstadt, 1978), pp. 227-285 (283) The Future as Risk 43 part of a historical machine that always proceeds on the basis of its present state, that clings to accepted or rejected risks too long, revises judgement after the event or, anticipating that this can happen, becomes still more uncertain of itself. The injunction contained in modern time structuring with its dual modality to draw a distinction between past, present and future presents, and thus to discount the past and future horizons of the operative present, encourages a thinking no longer amenable to any rational calculus.

It has to reckon with too many possible system states. III. These still very general considerations allow us to make further assumptions on the way risk is handled. We shall start by putting the problem differently. By positing a past and a future, the present is constituted as a determination of time, to be more precise as a restriction that is necessary to link up the past with the future. IS Why, however, is restriction not simply understood as a factor in a world that is simultaneous and thus not open to influence, but rather as a necessity imposed by having to make decisions without the needed information - and hence as risk?

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Risk: A Sociological Theory by Niklas Luhmann


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