Territorial Foresight, Intellectual Indiscipline with Demanding Heuristics

Namur, October 20, 2023


Foresight, particularly when applied to territories, bases its process first on the identification of long-term challenges, issues which need to be addressed by the parties and experts involved. Employing both a broad, rigorous information base, which is subject to criticism of sources and facts, and resources resulting from creativity, foresight itself wants to be heuristic and an innovation process. Creativity and rationality are thus combined, not in conflict with each other but rather with the aim of generating novel visions in which dreams engender reality. In a world in which misinformation is presented as the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse, rigour in the conceptual framework, reflexivity, independent thought and validation all play an integral part. Lastly, the robustness of the process must make it possible to address the issues of the present and to anticipate those of the future. That means not only reflecting but also equipping oneself with the capabilities to proceed before, or in order that, actions take place.


Introduction: Unlocking the Future Means Creating It

It is through geography, the subject of this part of the 2023 Science Congress [1], that we will address the topic of territorial foresight and its heuristics. I understand from your geographer colleagues Antoine Le Blanc (University of the Littoral Opal Coast) and Olivier Milhaud (Sorbonne University) that the link is essential from the outset, irrespective of concerns over territorial planning and development. They write that we explore the Earth and we explore science, knowing that the journey is inevitably unfinished yet delighting in it. And they add that this could be the heuristic positioning of geographers. Let’s keep exploring: if we experience limitations, we will be able to take control of our journey [2].

Proactively negotiating a path consisting of questioning and reflecting on [3] one’s approach with the goal of taking control of our journey: that is what futurists find appealing. The humility of this heuristic questioning, so dear to historians such as myself, is also at the heart of our reflection, even if it is more common among French geographers based in the Department of Geography, History, Economics and Societal Studies (GHES) than among our Belgian colleagues, located – sometimes far too assuredly – within science faculties. In any event, foresight, with its own ambition, and like some great geographical grassroots’ initiatives [4], tries to be open to the burning issues but, in doing so, is implemented to pluri-, multi- and interdisciplinary excess.

That is also why the contributors to that book which try to define what is geography highlight the manifest poster entitled Geography, a key for our future distributed in 2016 on the initiative of their Belgian colleagues to underline the involvement of geography in today’s world and even in tomorrow’s world at a time when the discipline was under threat, particularly from the Minister for Education of the French-speaking Community of Belgium. In doing so, the systemic representation endorsed by this document becomes part of one of the principles of foresight. The Belgian National Committee for Geography combines the following variables within a single group: climate change, natural and technological risks, living conditions, geolocation, urbanisation, weather forecasts, environmental protection, territorial and urban planning, geomatics, impact of economic activities, demographic policies, energy policy, mobility, nature conservation, geopolitical conflicts and evolution of landscapes [5].

These initial elements, highlighted from geography, provide bridges to the objectives of this contribution: defining territorial foresight, discussing its process and questioning its heuristics at a time when the issue of information quality and traceability of sources appears to be neglected by some people, including in the scientific world itself.


1. An Attitude, a Method, a Discipline and an Indiscipline

Prior to being a method or a discipline, foresight is an attitude – so stated the French philosopher and teacher Gaston Berger (1896-1960), creator of this approach and proponent of the concept. In 1959, when he was Director General of French Higher Education, Berger described foresight through five requirements which, today, are more important than ever:

Look far ahead: foresight is essentially the study of the distant future (…) and of the impetus for change (…)

Take a broad view: linear extrapolations, which give our reasoning an appearance of scientific rigour, are dangerous if we forget that they are abstract (…)

Analyse in detail: foresight assumes utmost attention and unrelenting work (…)

Take risks: forecasting and foresight do not use the same methods. Nor should they be implemented by the same people. Foresight assumes a freedom not permitted by our requirement for urgency (…)

Think of Man: the future is not only what may “happen” or what is most likely to occur. It is also, and to an ever-increasing extent, what we hoped it would be[6].

Derived also from the thinking of pragmatist philosopher Maurice Blondel (1861-1949) [7], action is therefore going to be central to the futurist’s concerns. And, as highlighted by Jacques Lesourne (1928-2020), who studied at the Ecole Polytechnique, was an engineer of the Corps des Mines in Paris and who was one of the greatest pioneers of Foresight application and its teaching, there is a vast difference in outlook between futurists who reflect with a view to taking action and scientists who work with a view to broadening knowledge. The latter may reject a problem as premature. The former must accept it if it is important for stakeholders, and their duty is therefore to consider any relevant and plausible information, even if it is expressed in vague terms [8]. Although their focus is on the quest for knowledge, futurists will also be men and women of practical experience and concrete action.

Drawing his inspiration from the work carried out in the United States, as Gaston Berger had also done [9], the economist Michel Godet, who succeeded Jacques Lesourne to the Chair of Industrial Foresight at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris, also helped to give foresight its strong strategic dimension. Basing his views on the works of the American organisational theorist Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009), Godet emphasised foresight’s prescriptive vocation as well as its exploratory dimension [10]. Consequently, he added planning, which, in the words of Ackoff, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, involves conceiving a desirable future and devising the ways and means to achieve it [11].

With the benefit of his practical experience, particularly within businesses and territories, Michel Godet also added three further requirements to the five characteristics advocated for foresight by Gaston Berger:

See differently: distrust received ideas.

The consensual dream of current generations is often a temporary agreement to leave everything unchanged and to pass the burden of our collective irresponsible actions on to future generations.

Do it together: appropriation.

It is a bad idea to want to impose a good idea.

Use methods that are as rigorous and participatory as possible in order to reduce the inevitable collective inconsistencies. (…) Without cognitive foresight, declared Godet, President of the Scientific Council of DATAR [Interministerial Delegation for Regional Planning and Regional Attractiveness], in 2004, participatory foresight will drift aimlessly and go round in circles [12].

It is this notion of foresight that Michel Godet continues to describe as intellectual indiscipline, using this phrase as the subtitle of the first volume of his Manuel de prospective stratégique[13]. In this work, Godet, the former Director of Foresight at SEMA, points out that the wording is that of Pierre Massé (1898-1987). In his foreword to the first edition of the Prospective review, in 1973, Massé, who was the former General Commissioner of Planning under General de Gaulle, observed that the term, whose modern acceptance was attributable to Gaston Berger, was explicitly neither a science nor a doctrine but rather a pursuit. Straining the words, wrote Massé, might have raised questions over whether Foresight’s vocation for uncertainty condemned it to being, by definition, not a discipline, but an indiscipline which challenges cursory, dangerous forecasting based on extrapolation [14]. Massé, author of Le Plan ou l’Anti-hasard (1965) [15], answered his question himself: I don’t believe so, however, since we need a science of approximations, a sort of social topology that helps us find our way in an increasingly complex and changing world in which imagination, supplemented by discernment, attempts to identify significant future trends. (…) The object of foresight is not to dream, but to transform our dreams into projects. It is not a question of guessing the future as prophets and futurologists do, and not without some risk, but of helping to construct it, setting chance against the anti-chance created through human desire [16].

Thus, as a tool based on temporality, in other words, the complex relationship which the present establishes both backwards and forwards with the past and the future [17], foresight goes beyond the historicity of our thought mechanisms to project itself into the future and explore the possible, desirable and achievable paths before taking action.

Strengthened by the convergence of the Anglo-Saxon foresight and the Latin prospective works carried out in the early 2000s under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research, foresight is a process of innovation and strategic transformation, based on systemics and the long term, for implementing present, operational actions. Systemics, because it involves complex systems analysis as well as modelling theory and practice. Long term, because it takes into account the long timescale dear to Fernand Braudel (1902-1985) [18] and presents a plural representation of the future in order to identify alternatives with a view to creating a single future [19]. Present, operational actions, because it constructs and implements a strategic desire to transform, set in motion and take action on history, territory and organisation.

This is the basis of a definition which I have continued to refine over time since the first version I wrote, initially for the European Commission [20], then for the Wallonia Evaluation and Foresight Society and DATAR [21].

Foresight is an independent, dialectic, rigorous approach conducted in an interdisciplinary manner and based on the long term.

Foresight can explain questions relating to the present and the future, firstly, by considering them within their holistic, systemic and complex framework and, secondly, by positioning them, beyond their historicity, within temporality. With a deliberate focus on project and action, its aim is to bring about one or more transformations within the system which it perceives through the use of collective intelligence[22].

Thus we can echo and supplement the elegant phrase of Jacques Lesourne: whenever there is a foresight reflection, there is decision to be taken [23], adding the words “and implemented”. We will confirm this in the analysis of the process.

Numerous debates have taken place within the futurist community on whether territorial foresight is different to business, industrial or technological foresight. Such discussions are rather pointless and I do not wish to be involved in them. I will, however, mention that one of the top experts in French territorial foresight, Guy Loinger (1943-2012) defined it as the activity whose purpose is to express alternative representations of the possible and desirable futures for a territory, with a view to developing territorial projects and local and regional public policies [24]. As Loinger, Director of the Interregional Observatory for Regional Foresight (OIPR), rightly observed, this definition clearly highlights the fact that foresight is a strategic reflection activity which takes place before the decision-making processes. It must be able to result in the operationalisation of the collectivity’s intervention within the territory. Practical experiments of this type have been carried out by The Destree Institute for twenty years, in addition to those undertaken at Walloon regional level. The following can be mentioned by way of example: Luxembourg 2010, Pays de Herve in the Future, Charleroi 2020, the Urban Community of Dunkirk, Picard Wallonia 2025, Côtes d’Armor 2020, Development Vision for the Basque Country, Sustainable Development Scheme for the Picardy Region, Normandie 2020+, Midi-Pyrénées Region, Lorraine Region, Bassin Cœur du Hainaut 2025, Regional Development Scheme for the Grande Région, etc. These are all territorial foresight works undertaken alone or in partnership, and an entire conference could be dedicated to describing them one by one.

Activity, attitude, approach, process, method, technique, tool – defining the purpose of foresight can be a confusing process. At a lecture he gave in Namur in 2009, Pierre Gonod (1925-2009), an expert in complex systems analysis, described foresight as heuristics, a process of rationality and a potential source of creativity, a veritable machine for asking questions [25].

I do not need to remind you that heuristics is the area of science whose purpose is to uncover the facts, and therefore the sources and the documents that underpin those facts, the latter part of this definition recalling, according to the philosophical vocabulary of André Lalande (1867-1963), the occupation of historians [26]. In my view, however, it is a necessity for all disciplines and approaches, scientific or otherwise. This reference to science is difficult to apply to all of the concerns in any discipline, but it can undoubtedly describe their processes and approaches. Heuristics is like a Russian doll. It aims to identify as exhaustively as possible all the relevant documentation on a subject, and, in addition to collecting the documents, to offer a detailed critique of the sources. As the sociologist and psychologist Claude-Pierre Vincent pointed out, heuristics also contains the ingredients of creation, intuition, creativity and strategic innovation. Vincent defines it broadly: all intellectual tools, all processes and all procedures, as well as all approaches that encourage “The art of discovery” and all approaches aimed at fostering “invention in science” [27]. It is also worth noting that the American mathematician George Pólya (1887-1985) observes on the subject of heuristics, since it deals with problem-solving, that one of its specific tasks is to express, in general terms, reasons for choosing subjects which, if investigated, could help us achieve the solution [28].

Asking the right question is central to any scientific approach as well as to foresight. That is why the phase involving the definition of long-term challenges is so important.


 2. A Robust Operational Process

The purpose of the foresight process is change. Not change for change’s sake at any time, as denounced by Peter Bishop in his courses [29], but change which makes it possible to address the long-term challenges and achieve the desired vision within the chosen timeframe. Gaston Berger had previously referred to the works of the German-born American psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890-1947), who had developed a change management model consisting of three phases, the most important of which was called transition: during this phase, behaviours and attitudes become unstable and contradictory and are experimented with by stakeholders who adopt some of them[30]. Inspired by this line of thinking and by other change models, some futurist colleagues and I have developed a seven-stage foresight process model comprising three phases[31]:

Evolution and preparation phase (Defining objectives, temporal and spatial positioning, management, scheduling, budget, communication, etc.)

 Foresight phase

  1. Identification (actors and factors) and foresight diagnosis.
  2. Defining the long-term issues.
  3. Developing the common vision.

Strategic phase

  1. Designating the strategic priorities.
  2. Assessing and selecting the concrete actions.
  3. Managing and monitoring the implementation.
  4. Evaluating the process and the results of the exercise.

The process is enriched throughout its course, firstly, internally through collective intelligence and, secondly, through outward monitoring in order to be alert to the emergences that always occur. The journey is a societal learning process for collecting, decoding and, above all, consolidating the information by calling on experts and bringing them together in deliberative forums. The objective of the exercise is to co-construct a sound body of knowledge which, when shared, will serve as the basis for expressing possibilities, desirable futures and strategy.

Over the years, the participation processes have been strengthened to ensure that the stakeholders become true players and that the involvement of actors is not only designed as a series of consultation or deliberation mechanisms but also offers genuine momentum for co-conception, co-construction and even co-decision [32].


3. Defeating the five horsemen of the Apocalypse

Bill Bramhall’s cartoon The five horsemen of the Apocalypse, which appeared in the New York Daily News editorial of 16 August 2021, perfectly illustrated my thoughts on the need for formal heuristics. Alongside war, famine, pestilence and death rides a fifth horseman. Death asks him who he is. The horseman, who is holding a smart phone or tablet, replies: misinformation. Conceived when misinformation was wreaking havoc during the coronavirus pandemic and at a time of full-blown Trumpism, this image is still relevant in many areas other than the pandemic.

Piero Dominici, a professor at the University of Perugia and a member of the World Science Academy, was a guest at one of my foresight and roadmap courses at the National Engineering School of Tunisia. During this course, he discussed the five illusions of hyper-technological civilisation: the illusion of rationality, the illusion of total control, the illusion of predictability, the illusion of measurability and the illusion of the power to eliminate error in our social systems and our lives [33]. These various certainties were overturned during the great hoax played by the very serious popular scientist Étienne Klein on 31 July 2022. The celebrated physician and scientific philosopher tweeted an image of the star Proxima Centauri, describing it as the star closest to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us (which seems accurate), and said that it had been captured by the James Webb telescope (JWST), launched several months earlier. Faced with the frenzy and the real risk of media uproar surrounding this information, Étienne Klein announced that the photo published was in fact a picture of a slice of chorizo against a black background. In sharing this image, Klein, former Research Director at the Atomic Energy Commission, had sought to urge caution at the publishing of images on social media, not imagining that the lack of criticism would send his message viral. It should also be mentioned that a quick search shows that Étienne Klein had himself shared a tweet by the astrophysicist Peter Coles from the University of Cardiff, dated the previous day, which had not had the same impact on social media. The original photo of the chorizo is actually older as it had been posted on 27 July 2018 by Jan Castenmiller, a retired Dutchman living in Vélez-Málaga, in Andalucia, who described it as a photo of a lunar eclipse. The uproar surrounding this slice of meat can be explained by three factors: the higher quality of the image, which had been slightly retouched, the enthusiasm surrounding the results produced by the new telescope and, above all, the excellent credentials of the person sharing the image [34].

This necessary traceability of sources is essential to the quality and reliability of information. However, it is being undermined. Not only by technical advances, particularly in the digital sector and in the field of AI, which make it possible to alter text, voice and image, but also through a form of lowering of standards on the part of the researchers themselves. This includes the increasingly common use of the particularly poor method of referencing sources, the so-called Harvard method, and the practice of filling scientific texts with vague references to style (Destatte, 1997), referring here to a work of 475 pages, when that is not the case – excuse the comparison – (Hobbes, 1993), obliging the reader to search for the evidence of what is being claimed in the 780 pages of the third Sirey edition of the English philosopher’s work, as I had to do recently. As Marc Bloch (1886-1944) points out in simple terms, indicating the provenance of a document merely means obeying a universal rule of honesty [35].

But that is not all: it is this very traceability of thought that is being called into question. In a recent economic magazine, one that is generally considered serious, a columnist considered that footnotes were a nightmare: directing the comprehension of a text means compromising how the reader understands it, he stated, being of the opinion that if young people were turning to slam, hip-hop or rap texts, that was because, at least such texts don’t have footnotes [36]. Worse still, in une histoire des notes de bas de page, which has been on the foresight.fr website since October 2022, the following appears:

As tedious to read as they are difficult to produce, the footnote is quickly becoming a nightmare for readers and students. For British playwright Noel Coward [37], “having to read footnotes resembles having to go downstairs to answer the door while in the midst of making love.”

As an element of paratext, the footnote is more like a parasite. Yet it had all started so well. It began as a tale of historians. As the scientific nature of history increased, so the footnote became more important: the need to clearly cite one’s sources and the growing emphasis on evidence to support each hypothesis [38].

Describing notes as boring or unnecessary will do nothing to strengthen the heuristic qualities of our futurists, researchers, students and pupils. François Guizot (1787-1874), one of the first scientists to generalise the use of footnotes, would have described this attitude as regrettable levity. Guizot, the former head of government under King Louis-Philippe and also a historian, complained that he saw many informed minds limiting themselves to a few documents in support of their hypotheses rather than pursuing their research to establish the reality of the facts [39]. In this way, he highlighted the danger faced by teachers, researchers and “intellectuals”, the difficulty they have both in speaking or writing in a neutral, objective and dispassionate way, with the distance expected of the role or profession of someone who expresses their opinion, and in getting close to the truth or even speaking the truth.

Contemporary research sends us at least two messages. Firstly, that of rigour which, above all, involves knowing what one is talking about, what the problem is and what one is looking for. This positioning requires not only general culture and experience but also some learning about the subject. It is a phase in any research process, and also when participating in a consultation or a deliberative process, including foresight. The second message refers us to relativity and objectivity in relation to the subject and to the interpretation of the experience. If the passion that often motivates the researcher in a positive way can also be their internal enemy, how should we protect the citizens, actors and stakeholders who take part in a research and innovation process?

Most importantly, perhaps, Aristotle pointed out in the 4th century BC that persuading through the oratorical techniques of rhetoric does not mean demonstrating by means of persuasive techniques (inference, syllogisms and other enthymemes). Scientific practice involves proving, in other words establishing the evidence of one’s claim, which is completely different from rhetoric or dialectic [40]. In the world of foresight, but not only in that world, we have always argued in favour of seeking a balance between the factual (data gathering), interactive (deliberation) and conceptual (establishing the structural concepts) activities, in line with the creative method highlighted by Thierry Gaudin, former Director of Foresight and Evaluation at the French Research Ministry [41]. Such a balance can be sought based on the efforts and investments in time and resources made in the three approaches to a problem or challenge.

Well before our Renaissance thinkers, the North African scholar Ibn Khaldûn (1332-1406) called on people to combat the demon of lies with the light of reason. He encouraged the use of criticism to separate the wheat from the chaff and called on science to polish the truth so that critical insight may be applied to it [42]. The watchword here is analytical rigour, both qualitative and quantitative. In science, even in social science, logical rigour and empirical rigour come together to interpret, understand and explain [43]. Validation of data quality is universally essential: consistency of measurements, stability of series, continuity of measurement throughout the period analysed, existence of a genuine periodic variation, etc.[44]

Researchers who follow the path of foresight must be like the philosopher described by the grammarian and philosopher César Chesneau Dumarsais (1676-1756), who wrote the following definition in the Encyclopédie of 1765, edited by Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert and Louis de Jaucourt:

Truth is not for the philosopher a mistress who corrupts his imagination and whom he believes is to be found everywhere; he contents himself with being able to unravel it where he can perceive it. He does not confound it with probability; he takes for true what is true, for false what is false, for doubtful what is doubtful, and for probable what is only probable. He does more, and here you have a great perfection of the philosopher: when he has no reason by which to judge, he knows how to live in suspension of judgment  [45].

Caution and rigour in heuristics cannot, however, lead to objectivism. Distinguishing truth from falsehood is absolutely essential. Remaining detached from the world and not intervening is definitely not the practice of either intellectuals [46] or futurists who, above all, are men and women of reflection and action.


Conclusion: Intellectual Courage

The quest for truth, detachment and autonomy of thought [47] are worthwhile only if they are accompanied by courage to tell the truth. We are all familiar with the wonderful words of SFIO [French Section of the Workers’ International] deputy Jean Jaurès (1859-1914) in his address to young people, given in Albi in 1903:

Courage is about seeking truth and speaking truth, not about submitting to a great triumphant lie or echoing ignorant applause or fanatical jeers with our hearts, our mouths or our hands [48].

We are much less familiar with the speech made by Raymond Aron (1905-1983) to the French Philosophy Society in June 1939, barely two months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Aron, the French historian and sociologist, underlined the importance of the qualities of discipline and technical competence and also intellectual courage to challenge everything and identify the issues on which the very existence of his country depended. Aron stated very clearly that the crisis would be lengthy and profound:

Whatever the immediate events, we will not emerge unscathed. The journey on which France and the countries of Europe are embarking does not have an immediate, miraculous conclusion. I think, therefore, that teachers like us can play a small part in this effort to safeguard the values we hold dear. Instead of shouting with the parties, we could strive to define, with the utmost good faith, the issues that have been raised and the means of addressing them [49].

 Leaving aside the idea that, as researchers, students or intellectuals, we would be in a privileged position due to the intellectual and material possibilities given to us[50], the fact remains that we have a great responsibility towards society. Do we exercise this responsibility to the extent demanded by our duty and the expectations of civil society? I do not think… not in Belgium, and especially not in Wallonia. The absence of an engaged, dynamic public space is a real problem. But it is not a fatal flaw.

With the increasingly glaring gap between, firstly, the public and collective policies pursued from European down to local level and, secondly, the needs created by the challenges arising from the Anthropocene era and the loss of social cohesion, it is time for the voices of the territories to be heard loud and clear again.

And for everything to be called into question again.


See also:

Ph. DESTATTE, What is foresight?, Blog PhD2050, May 30, 2013. https://phd2050.org/2013/05/30/what-is-foresight/

Ph. DESTATTE, Opinions which are partial have the effect of vitiating the rectitude of judgment”, Heuristics and criticism of sources in science, University of Mons – EUNICE, Mons, 21 October 2021, Blog PhD2050, https://phd2050.org/2021/10/26/heuristics/


Philippe Destatte



[1] This text is the English version of my speech to the 2023 Science Congress, held at the University of Namur (Wallonia) on 23 and 24 August 2023.

[2] Antoine LE BLANC et Olivier MILHAUD, Sortir de nos enfermements ? Parcours géographiques, dans Perrine MICHON et Jean-Robert PITTE, A quoi sert la géographie?, p. 116, Paris, PuF, 2021.

[3] Pierre BOURDIEU, Science de la science et réflexivité, Cours au Collège de France 2000-2001, p. 173-174, Paris, Raisons d’agir Éditions, 2001. – Pierre BOURDIEU (1930-2002), Réflexivité narcissique et réflexivité scientifique (1993), in P. BOURDIEU, Retour sur la réflexivité,  p. 58, Paris, EHESS, 2022.

[4] Bernadette MERENNE-SCHOUMAKER et Anne BARTHELEMI dir., L’accès aux fonctions et l’aménagement des territoires face aux enjeux de notre société, dans Géo, n°85, Arlon, FEGEPRO, 2021. – Florian PONS, Sina SAFADI-KATOUZIAN et Chloë VIDAL, Penser et agir dans l’anthropocène, Quels apports de la prospective territoriale?, in Géographie et cultures, n°116, Hiver2020.

[5] La géographie, une clef pour notre futur, Comité national belge de Géographie, 30 mai 2016. https://uclouvain.be/fr/facultes/sc/actualites/la-geographie-une-cle-pour-notre-futur.html – A. LE BLANC et O. MILHAUD, op. cit., p. 117.

[6] L’attitude prospective, in L’Encyclopédie française, t. XX, Le monde en devenir, 1959, in Gaston BERGER, Phénoménologie du temps et prospective, p. 270-275, Paris, PuF, 1964. (1959).

[7] The French philosopher Maurice Blondel developed the concept of prospection, which refers to action-oriented thinking: Maurice BLONDEL, Sur Prospection, in André LALANDE, Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, p. 846, Paris, PuF, 1976.

[8] Jacques LESOURNE, Un homme de notre siècle, De polytechnique à la prospective et au journal Le Monde, p. 475, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2000.

[9]  With particular reference to social psychology: Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippitt, Jeanne Watson, Bruce Westley. G. BERGER, Phénoménologie du temps et prospective…, p. 271.

[10] Maurice Blondel proposes to call Normative the methodical research whose aim is to study and provide the normal process by which beings achieve the design from which they proceed, the destiny to which they tend. M. BLONDEL, L’être et les êtres, Essai d’ontologie concrète et intégrale, p. 255, Paris, Félix Alcan, 1935.

[11] Russell Lincoln ACKOFF, A Concept of Corporate Planning, New York, Wiley, 1969. – M. GODET, Prospective et planification stratégique, p. 31, Paris, Economica, 1985.

[12] Michel GODET, Les régions face au futur, Foreword to G. LOINGER dir., La prospective régionale, De chemins en desseins, p. 8, Paris, L’Aube – DATAR, 2004. – See also : Michel GODET, De la rigueur pour une indiscipline intellectuelle, Assises de la Prospective, Université de Paris-Dauphine, Paris, 8-9 décembre 1999, p. 13. – M. GODET, Creating Futures, Scenario Planning as a Strategic Management Tool, p. 2, London-Paris-Genève, Economica, 2006.


[13] Michel GODET, Manuel de prospective stratégique, t. 1, Une indiscipline intellectuelle, Paris, Dunod, 1997.

[14] Pierre MASSÉ, De prospective à prospectives, dans Prospectives, Paris, PuF, n°1, Juin 1973, p. 4.

[15] P. MASSÉ, Le Plan ou l’Anti-hasard, coll. Idées, Paris, nrf-Gallimard, 1965.  http://www.laprospective.fr/dyn/francais/memoire/texte_fondamentaux/le-plan-ou-lantihasard-pierre-masse.pdf

[16] P. MASSÉ, De prospective à prospectives…, p. 4.

[17] Jean CHESNEAUX, Habiter le temps, p. 18-19, Paris, Bayard, 1996. – Reinhart KOSSELECK, Le futur passé, Paris, EHESS, 1990.

[18] Fernand BRAUDEL, Histoire et Sciences sociales, La longue durée, dans Annales, 1958, 13-4, p. 725-753. https://www.persee.fr/doc/ahess_0395-2649_1958_num_13_4_2781

[19] Jacques LESOURNE, Les mille sentiers de l’avenir, p. 11-12, Paris, Seghers, 1981.

[20] Voir notamment : Günter CLAR & Philippe DESTATTE, Regional Foresight, Boosting Regional Potential, Mutual Learning Platform Regional Foresight Report, Luxembourg, European Commission, Committee of the Regions and Innovative Regions in Europe Network, 2006.


[21] Ph. DESTATTE et Ph. DURANCE, Les mots-clés de la prospective territoriale, p. 46, Paris, La Documentation française, 2009. Philippe_Destatte_Philippe_Durance_Mots_cles_Prospective_Documentation_francaise_2009

[22] Ph. DESTATTE, What is foresight?, Blog PhD2050, May 30, 2013. https://phd2050.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/what-is-foresight/

[23] J. LESOURNE, Conclusion, Assises de la prospective, Paris, Université Dauphine, 8 décembre 1999.

[24] Guy LOINGER, La prospective territoriale comme expression d’une nouvelle philosophie de l’action collective, in G. LOINGER dir., La prospective régionale, De chemins en desseins, p. 44-45, Paris, L’Aube – DATAR, 2004.

[25] Pierre GONOD, Conférence faite à la Plateforme d’Intelligence territoriale wallonne, Namur, Institut Destrée, 19 mai 2009.

[26] André LALANDE, Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, p. 413, Paris, PUF, 1976. About heuristics, see also: DESTATTE, Opinions which are partial have the effect of vitiating the rectitude of judgment”, Heuristics and criticism of sources in science, University of Mons – EUNICE, Mons, 21 October 2021, Blog PhD2050, https://phd2050.org/2021/10/26/heuristics/

[27] Claude-Pierre VINCENT, Heuristique, création, intuition et stratégies d’innovation, p. 32, Paris, Editions BoD, 2012. – Cette définition est fort proche de celle de l’Encyclopaedia Universalis : Jean-Pierre CHRÉTIEN-GONI, Heuristique, dans Encyclopædia Universalis, consulté le 6 mars 2023. https://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/heuristique/

[28] George PóLYA, L’Heuristique est-elle un sujet d’étude raisonnable?, in Travail et Méthodes, p. 279, Paris, Sciences et Industrie, 1958.

[29] For an idea of Peter Bishop’s work, see: P. BISHOP & Andy HINES, Teaching about the Future, New York, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2012.

[30] Kurt LEWIN, Field Theory in Social Science, Harper Collins, 1951. – Psychologie dynamique, Les relations humaines, Paris, PuF, 1972.

[31] Ph. DESTATTE, La construction d’un modèle de processus prospectif, dans Philippe DURANCE & Régine MONTI dir., La prospective stratégique en action, Bilan et perspectives d’une indiscipline intellectuelle, p. 301-331, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2014. – You can find the Working Paper in English: Ph. DESTATTE, The construction of a foresight process model based on the interest in collective knowledge and learning platforms, The Destree Institute, May 13, 2009.


[32] Ph. DESTATTE, Citizens’ Engagement Approaches and Methods in R&I Foresight, Brussels, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe Policy Support Facility, 2023.


[33] Piero DOMINICI, Managing Complexity ? Tunis, ENIT, 15 avril 2022.

[34] André GUNTHERT, Ce que montre le chorizo, in L’image sociale, 17 novembre 2022. https://imagesociale.fr/10853 – André Gunthert is Associate Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences sociales in Paris.

[35] Marc BLOCH, Apologie pour l’histoire ou Métier d’historien (1942), in Marc BLOCH, L’histoire, la Guerre, la Résistance, coll. Quarto, p. 911, Paris, Gallimard, 2006.

[36] Paul VACCA, L’enfer des notes de bas de page, in Trends-Tendances, 2 mars 2023, p. 18.

[37] Sir Noël Peirce COWARD (1899-1973) Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. Noël Coward, Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Sep. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Noel-Coward. Accessed 5 October 2023

[38] Histoire des notes de bas de page, Actualité prospective, 1er octobre 2022.


[39] François GUIZOT, History of the Origin of Representative Government in Europe, translated by Andrew E. Scobe, p. 4, London, Henry G. Bohn, 1852. https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/61250/pg61250-images.html#Page_1.

[40] ARISTOTE, According to Rhétorique, LI, 2, 1355sv, in Œuvres, coll. La Pléiade, p. 706 sv, Paris, Gallimard, 2014.

[41] Thierry GAUDIN, Discours de la méthode créatrice, Gordes, Ose Savoir – Le Relié, 2003.

[42] IBN KHALDÛN, Al-Muqaddima, Discours sur l’histoire universelle, p. 6, Arles, Acte Sud, 1997.

[43] Jean-Pierre OLIVIER de SARDAN, La rigueur du qualitatif, Les contraintes empiriques de l’interprétation socio-anthropologique, p. 8, Louvain-la-Neuve, Bruylant-Academia, 2008.

[44] Daniel CAUMONT & Silvester IVANAJ, Analyse des données, p. 244, Paris, Dunod, 2017.

[45] César CHESNEAU DU MARSAIS, Le philosophe, dans  Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers…, t. XII, p. 509, Neufchâtel, 1765. http://enccre.academie-sciences.fr/encyclopedie/article/v12-1254-0/

[46] Gérard NOIRIEL, Dire la vérité au pouvoir, Les intellectuels en question, Paris, Agone, 2010.

[47] Norbert ELIAS, Involvement and Detachment, Basil Blackwell, 1987. –  Engagement et distanciation, Contribution à la sociologie de la connaissance (1983), p. 27-28, Paris, Fayard, 1993.

[48] Jean JAURES, Discours à la Jeunesse, Albi, 31 juillet 1903, in J. JAURES, Discours et conférences, coll. Champs classiques, p. 168, Paris, Flammarion, 2014.

[49] Raymond ARON, Communication devant la Société française de philosophie, 17 juin 1939, in R. ARON, Croire en la démocratie, 1933-1944, p. 102, Paris, Arthème Fayard – Pluriel, 2017.

[50] Noam CHOMSKY, The Responsability of Intellectuels, New York, The New York Press, 2017. – Noam CHOMSKY, De la responsabilité des intellectuels, p. 149, Paris, Agone, 2023.

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