chapter  7
21 Pages

Using retroduction to address wicked problems

WithLeigh Price

This chapter outlines the main methodological problems present in Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber's concept of wicked problems. Rittel and Webber write: In dealing with wicked problems the modes of reasoning used in the argument are much richer than those permissible in the scientific discourse. Wicked problems show how important it is that scientists stop making this mistake and join with communities in using retroduction to address complex bio/socio/economic problems. Rittel and Webber at times sound exactly like critical realists. Critical realists, however, who acknowledge the real that emerges from the empirical, can work with structures and mechanisms based on a deep, interdisciplinary understanding of the problem at hand. Critical realism assumes that there may be several feasible options to deal with the issue and that the affected people should have a democratic say in how the meaning of the fact is interpreted. The chapter argues, morally questionable and undermines the basic freedoms of a democratic society.