Since the early 90s, cindynical concepts have been constructed gradually. The cindynical vocabulary has also evolved, which can sometimes be confusing if not enough attention is paid to the publication date of documents describing these concepts. A brief chronology summarising these developments helps to avoid these pitfalls.

In 1992, one of the cindynical axioms posits that the measurement of risk is subject to ambiguities on objectives, on technological models, and on statistical data1 : this axiom thus generates a first three-dimensional space.

At the end of 1993, this axiom of ambiguity was extended to ambiguities in the rules of the game between actors, and in their system of values2 : these five dimensions (models, data, purposes, rules and values) constitute the hyperspace of danger (where ' hyper 'simply means that this space has more than three dimensions). Hyperspaces are characterised by gaps, disjunctions and dysfunctions which enable to produce a list of Cindynogenic Systemic Deficits. The notion of situation is then defined as a set of networks within a set of space and time horizons. Each network is described by its hyperspace.

In 1995 dissonances were defined as the gap between an initial situation and a transformed situation. Prevention consists of an intentional transformation aimed at reducing these dissonances3  , which are the factors of the situation's cindynical potential. If this potential exceeds a threshold, the probability of disaster is very high.

That same year, Georges-Yves Kervern published Éléments fondamentaux des Cindyniques4 : He introduced the notion of ideal hyperspace. Dissonances are described as the difference between the hyperspace of a network of actors, and the hyperspace that should ideally characterise it. Moreover, Georges-Yves Kervern then also calls dissonances the cindynogenic gaps between the hyperspaces of two different networks of actors. These gaps increase the cindynical potential.

In 19975 , the term dissonance was reserved for the differences between hyperspaces of different networks. The cindynical potential is a function of deficits and dissonances: this potential is compared to the concept of propensity proposed by Karl Popper, and expresses the likelihood of the imminence of a catastrophe or an accident.

In 19996  , deficits were defined as the gap between the hyperspace of a network of actors and what it should become at the end of a prevention campaign. The reduction of deficits and dissonances lowers the cindynic potential below a threshold of ocurrence of a peril inherent in a situation.

In 20047 vulnerability was described as the propensity of the situation, characterising its development potential , and the dissonances between networks of actors were considered to result from their divergences.

In 2005, in an article devoted to the use of description theory8 developed by Mioara Mugur-Schächter, Georges-Yves Kervern described three types of meta-descriptions: the deviations from the ideal situation constituted by the gaps between real and ideal hyperspaces, which define the deficits, the gaps between hyperspaces of two networks of actors in divergence or in conflict, which define the dissonances, and the gaps between a situation at a given moment and this same situation at a later moment. This last metadescription is the descriptive tool of cindynamics, useful for conceptualising crisis management. In addition, these meta-descriptions enable the formal definition of the vulnerability and resilience of a situation: vulnerability, a function of deficits and dissonances, is the propensity to generate incidents, accidents, disasters or unwanted events, and resilience is the capacity of this situation to resist this propensity: resilience is the inverse of vulnerability.

The vocabulary of first order Cindynics has therefore evolved: the gaps between real actors and ideal actors, initially called dissonances are now called deficits, and dissonances now describe the gaps between two different actors in conflict or having divergences. These divergences are also different from the concept of divergences introduced by second order Cindynics. Second order Cindynics consider that situations are relative to actors, and divergences represent the differences between the different ideal situations desired by different actors.

Finally, from the notion of potential to the notion of vulnerability, it has always been considered a potential for situations to evolve towards accidents or disasters, or unwanted events, with the consequence that any situation where unwanted events or damages happen was initially vulnerable. And resilience being the inverse of vulnerability, any situation experiencing damage is a situation that was not resilient: the purpose of Cindynics is not adaptation to damage, it is damage prevention, and it has never been possible to interpret the cindynical concept of resilience as a justification for social Darwinism.


1 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. FOCUS: Studying Risks: The Science of Cindynics. Business Ethics: A European Review . 1993, Vol. 2, nᵒ 3, p. 140‑142. DOI
2 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Le Bordeaux-Paris de l’épistémologie cindynique. La lettre des Cindyniques. Décembre 1993, Vol. 10
3 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Cindynics: the science of danger. Risk Management. 1995, Vol. 42, nᵒ 3, p. 34
4 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Éléments fondamentaux des Cindyniques. Paris : Économica, 1995. ISBN 978-2-7178-2756-9
5 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Une perspective historique et conceptuelle sur les sciences du danger : les cindyniques. Dans : WYBO, Jean-Luc (dir.), Introduction aux cindyniques. Paris : Ed. Eska, 1998. ISBN 978-2-86911-646-7
6 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Jean-Louis, de GRASCE. Dans : Entre systémique et complexité, chemin faisant: mélanges en hommage à Jean-Louis Le Moigne. Paris : Presses universitaires de France, 1999. ISBN 978-2-13-050246-3
7 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. Entre mémoire et anticipation. Dans : Colloque L’action publique face aux risques. Vaulx-en-Velin : Conseil Général des Ponts et Chaussées, 23 septembre 2004, p. 21‑23
8 KERVERN, Georges-Yves. La théorie de la description appliquée à l’essentiel des cindyniques . avril 2005. Disponible à l’adresse : http :// ://