Sometimes when the adjective plausible is used, it is used as a synonym for possible. And it’s not exactly the same. The nuances matter and, depending on the context, a lot. Talking about plausibility entails a certain degree of acceptance, of social consensus. The term, which comes from plausibilis, in Latin, is formed from the verb plaudere (to applaud) and the suffix -ible which would indicate possibility.

Thus, speaking of something plausible, considering the origin of the word, would mean that it is worthy of receiving recognition, admiration (applause); In addition, it implies acceptance, implies a basic coherence in its argumentation, which makes sense in our referential and moral frameworks, it is also linked to the idea of ​​being something recommendable, due to its positive charge. This would be one of the differences with something that is simply possible, that is likely to happen, to materialize, to be a reality…

The same happens if we talk about something that is probable, which would mean that, analyzing a specific situation in the present, diverse factors are observed and evaluated that indicate that something can happen almost with certainty or with a very high level of probability, since there are many good reasons to think that it will be so. Probability admits a level or degree, while the plausible condition is associated with the idea of ​​something that, from the outset, could be plausible, admissible, credible, convincing…, although it does not end up happening in the end. Plausibility helps to project future scenarios and, as Elisabet Roselló points out in an interesting article in Telos magazine: “It is from what we consider plausible that we build images of other possible worlds (…) Our ability to interact with uncertainty It also has to do with our ability to face implausible possibilities.”

Democratic politics must not only be probable –because it is predictable and safe– but also plausible –because it is convenient and acceptable–. It is about making possible and probable what is necessary, what is urgent, what is convenient. This exercise in predictability may seem tedious or boring. But democracy that solves people’s real problems must be safe and, to some extent, boring. The opposite only feeds populist and radical shortcuts.