In Crippling Epistemologies and Governance Failures, Gilles Paquet criticizes the prevailing practices of the social sciences on the basis of their inadequate concepts of knowledge, evidence and inquiry, concepts he claims have become methodological “mental prisons”. Paquet describes the prevailing policy development process in Canada in terms of its weak information infrastructure, poor accountability, and inflexible organization design. In contrast, he suggests that social science and public policy should promote forms of “serious play” that would allow organizations to experiment with new structures.
Paquet engages with numerous foundationalist programs in the social sciences in order to show their inadequacy and suggests important and unexplored directions in policy areas as diverse as education, science, health, intergovernmental and foreign policy. He closes the work with a plea for experimentalism in academic research, policy development, and organization design.close this panel
Gilles Paquet is professor emeritus at the Telfer School of Management and is associated with the Centre on Governance and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He has authored or edited over forty books and published a large number of papers on economics, public management, and governance.close this panel
“Paquet’s vigorous plea that mediocrity need not be accepted must be read and acted upon.” - Patrice Dutil, Literary Review of Canadaclose this panel