No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Decisions under uncertainty

In modern societies, almost nothing happens by itself, and nearly everything requires a decision. Or so it seems. Furthermore, there is seldom a straightforward causality between decisions and their anticipated outcomes. Nonetheless, we often attribute present effects to decisions made in the past or expect future consequences from current choices.

Decisions are essentially moments in time where the present seeks to bind an unknown or uncertain future. Complex decisions are based on premises that are inherently paradoxical, and resolving these paradoxes logically is often impossible. Instead, they can only be dealt with operationally and empirically.

Decisions occur within a structured space where various alternatives are present. The challenge lies in systems' ability to self-observe while dealing with the paradoxes inherent in decision-making.

Practical decision-making often involves delaying the actual decision by simulating the conditions and absorbing uncertainty. These practices include hierarchical structures, responsibility, roles, and symbolic actions. Moreover, empirical social research plays a role in shaping decisions by introducing assumptions about rational decision alternatives.

Very interesting talk by the German sociologist Armin Nassehi.

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