In Misery of Historicism (1945), Karl Popper states: "The future course of history is unpredictable. "In" SF and experimentation ", Isabelle Stengers seems to support the opposite (Hottois, Philosophy and SF, 2000). At midday, Gérard Klein declared: "the future is as vast as America" (John Brunner, All in Zanzibar(Preface, 1985). Linking foresight to Science Fiction means recognizing a common problem of political philosophy and questioning their respective epistemology, even their "metaphysics": what is mastering and predicting? and for what purpose? What are statistics and historical materialism, the use of predictions and the socio-historical character of science?
If SF focuses on the "power" of the facts, which only exists as possible (with the subterranean question of Philip K. Dick concerning the pre-cogs of Ubik and Minority Report, or that of‘IAsimov saac concerning the "Seldon plan" and the anti-Mules of the Foundation cycle), foresight tends towards reality, towards "action" and the energy of facts. One of the "half-sisters" (Klein) attaches herself to the world by objectification, rationalism, a break with the empiricism of common knowledge, and this gives a "science of decision"; the other attaches herself to it by subjectivation, and this gives "an experimental literature" according to the general introduction of the Great Anthology of Science Fiction (Ioakimidis, 1974).
In 1961, G. de Pesloüan, close to the industrialist, phenomenologist and characterologist Gaston Berger, promoter of foresight, remarks: "Foresight is a systematic of forecasting (...), the science of understanding the future, in order to contribute to doing so" ("Gaston Berger: philosopher and man of action", Livres et Lectures n°153, March 1961). This very seventies knowledge, with its journals, learned societies and training courses, is a state "business": a Department of Prospective Studies and Statistics exists in France and serves as a "phenomenology of time".
On the other hand, since there is an "undeniable unity" of the SF genre according to the Great Anthology, can we not understand SF as a parasitic continuity and literary actualization of "science (which) does not have the philosophy it deserves"? (G. BachelardRational Materialism, 1953)?
Indeed, in their own way, prospective and SF do not renew the question of German Ideology and K. Marx's Introduction to the Criticism of Political Economy (1857): "how do general historical conditions interfere with production, and what is its relationship to the historical movement in general? "In other words, aren't foresight and SF an art of surveillance and a literature of disruptive machines, i.e. dialectics, as much as "prospective pedagogies of change" (Klein, Histoire de l'an 2000, 1985)?
Half-sisters are in fact part of the long and cultural time of foresight (capricious historical mentality of the same "metaphysical need") of which Norbert Elias since the 1930s (1973, 1975, 1985, 1994). But isn't the dialectic the "spirit of consequence" and its turning back on itself, whirling, often unforeseen? ("You are never congratulated for having foreseen the unpredictable. " judiciously written Gérard Klein in its preface "SF and Foresight" to T.A.Z. de John Brunner).
Prospective and SF, as "Turing's machines for exploring time", paper machines, therefore, "metaphysical machines", are characteristic moments of this growing need to see before us. Thus, we can better understand that Jules Verne is "the ancestor of futurologists (responsible) for predicting almost certain futures" and H.G. Wells "the first of the prospectivists, these willingly reckless explorers of possible futures", and that "the writer of SF starts from a postulate and is only concerned with exploring the consequences. "(Great Anthology)
Why not enjoy unlimited reading of UP'? Subscribe from €1.90 per week.
Popper Karl: Misery of Historicism, 1945
Stengers Isabelle. SF and experimentation", 2000
Klein Gérard, John Brunner, All in Zanzibar, 1985
The Great Anthology of Science Fiction: "Introduction", 1974
Pesloüan G. de: "Gaston Berger: philosopher and man of action", Books and Readings No. 153, March 1961
Bachelard Gaston, Rational Materialism, 1953
Marx Karl: Introduction to the Criticism of Political Economy, 1857