Does without knowing mean 'as we don't know' in the first sentence? Or, just 'not accompanied by' or 'in the absence of,' as dictionaries say?

The known fact of contingencies, without knowing precisely what those contingencies will be, entails that disaster preparation is not the same thing as disaster rehearsal. No matter how many mock disasters are staged according to prior plans, the real disaster will never mirror any one of them. Disaster-preparation planning is more like training for a marathon than training for a high-jump competition or a sprinting event. Marathon runners do not practice by running the full course of twenty-six miles; rather, they get into shape by running shorter distances and building up their endurance with cross-training. If they have prepared successfully, then they are in optimal condition to run the marathon over its predetermined course and length, assuming a range of weather conditions, predicted or not. This is normal marathon preparation.

Ethics for Disaster

1 Answer 1


It means in the absence of, as you suggest. The sentence would be easier to understand if it began like this:

Knowing that contingencies exist, but not knowing precisely what those contingencies will be, ...

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