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SHOULD WE? EXPLORING CHANGE AGENTS’ CONCEPTIONS OF EPISTEMIC HUMILITY

Troop, Michael (2021) SHOULD WE? EXPLORING CHANGE AGENTS’ CONCEPTIONS OF EPISTEMIC HUMILITY. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Troop, Michael
Abstract:

This work explores how those engaged in innovation and advancing change consider their own ethical frameworks when they operate under uncertainty. Open-mindedness and critical self-reflection about the limits of one’s knowledge, contained in the concept of Epistemic Humility, serve as a foundation to answer the central research question: To what extent does Epistemic Humility help changemakers assess if their change should be pursued? A review of existing literature informs both a grounding of epistemic ethics, virtues, and vices as well as the nature of knowledge and uncertainty, and indicates that epistemic humility may indeed create conditions for critical reflection on change initiatives. The depth of understanding gained through a review of relevant literature is compared to first-person accounts from those engaged with advancing change in the real world.

One-on-one interviews with practicing innovators and change agents shows how humility and de-centering of the self creates the conditions for a more holistic understanding of change initiatives, which, it is hoped, creates more desirable outcomes with fewer undesired side effects. Glimpses of an idealized future are offered by participants through the foresight workshop; a future where epistemic humility, open-mindedness, and critical reflection on our relationship with our own knowledge and beliefs is more widespread.

In an uncertain world, we need more critical reflection on whether change should be pursued, which requires weighing the pros and cons of action and inaction. This work suggests epistemic humility may be a key element in the making of better decisions. Much more work is required to understand how such mindsets can be fostered in decision-makers and change agents, but this work can serve as an entry-point to a deeper understanding of ethical action when pursuing change under uncertainty.

Date: 2021
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 19:02
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 16:01
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3549

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