Acquiring the facts for effective actions. Certainty is to know without doubt the situation, potential actions and consequences, so that one can make an informed decision with maximum knowledge of the outcome.
The philosophic discipline of epistemology is the study of the difference between knowing and believing, in which knowing is related to certainty and believing occurs without being certain. Emphasis is on the methods of empirical analysis that lead to "certainty". The European reference is to gnosiology.
Implementing this approach utilizes a number of processes ranging from pure sense perception to logical deductions to use of [a priori] "intuitional" knowledge. Gathering of factual information and case studies of similar situations provides basic information. Polling opinions and group planning by those implementing a plan provide another dimension of certainty. Research, evaluation and analysis are cornerstones of the strategy of certainty.
No amount of knowledge assures the outcome of an action in a relativistic universe. The quest for certainty is to minimize failure in strategic actions and include use of experience and intuitions. Levels of assurance vary with the actual amount and types of analysis done and reduce tendencies to subjectivity, impulsive and fruitless action. The more comprehensive, inclusive and holistic the analysis, the more likely the desired result.
The search for the tried and true impedes use of intuition, restraints creativity and imagination, and maintains the status quo, making it difficult for innovative actions to occur. Random factors are often the key to strategic success, rather than their rational, quantitative models.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.