در خصوص فلسفه و عمل اقتصاد محیط زیست: نقش مفاهیم، مدل ها، و مطالعات موردی در درون و فرا پژوهش توسعه پایدار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8749||2008||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 67, Issue 3, 15 October 2008, Pages 384–393
We develop a general and unifying methodology for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this methodology is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, (generic) models and case studies. This provides a systematic and integral view on ecological economics, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to the field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. At the same time, this methodological framework may provide orientation for the further development of ecological economics
While there exists a widely shared consensus about the subject matter and aims of ecological economics (EE), the field is characterized by a vast diversity and heterogeneity of seemingly unrelated approaches and contributions (Røpke, 2005). For example, a survey of the journal Ecological Economics reveals the extent of heterogeneity in different dimensions: (i) There is a wide spectrum of methodological approaches, including controlled experimental work, case studies, models, theories, conceptual foundation, and philosophical reflection. (ii) Some contributions aim at positive analysis in the spirit of the natural sciences, i.e. describing facts and providing explanations, while others aim at normative, i.e. value based, policy recommendations. (iii) As far as motivation goes, there is the full range between purely cognitive interest, i.e. a science-immanent motivation to study questions from science and provide answers for science, and interest in practical action and solution, i.e. a motivation to link science and society at large. This heterogeneity of approaches and contributions seems to stand unrelated and, at times, is seen as an obstacle for progress of the field. In this paper, we develop a general and unifying methodology1 for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of EE with operationalization. We philosophically deduce this methodology and specify an operationalization accordingly. Our aim is to lay out a systematic and coherent methodological framework for ecological economics, ranging all the way from basic philosophy of science to concrete operationalization. This provides a systematic and integral view on ecological economics, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to the field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. At the same time, this methodological framework may provide orientation for the further development of EE. We start with the definition of ecological economics and clarify its subject matter and aims. Based on these considerations, we reflect on the question of how to do ecological economics. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific kind of inter- and transdisciplinary research. Furthermore, we reflect on the adequate epistemological basis for EE, referring to considerations within the philosophy of science. In accordance with the philosophical considerations on the foundations of EE, we develop an adequate operationalization, which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: (i) the level of concepts (ii) the level of models and (iii) the level of concrete case studies. This integration of considerations on the philosophy of EE – its inter- and transdisciplinary character and its epistemological foundation – with a concrete operationalization by simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction – concepts, models and case studies – constitutes the original and innovative contribution that – we believe – this paper can make to the philosophy and practice of ecological economics.2
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have developed a consistent and comprehensive, general and unifying methodology for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. Taking the subject matter and aims of ecological economics as a starting point, we have identified a specific understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity, and the underlying epistemological position on which this methodology is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we have suggested an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, models and case studies. The innovation of this methodology is that it represents a systematic and coherent framework for ecological economics, ranging all the way from basic philosophy of science to concrete operationalization. It offers a systematic and integral view on EE, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to that field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. This includes a vast diversity of contributions which are (i) based on case studies, models, theories, conceptual foundation, philosophical reflection; (ii) aim at positive analysis in the spirit of the natural sciences (i.e. describing facts and providing explanations), or at normative, i.e. value based, policy recommendations, or at both; (iii) are motivated purely by cognitive interest and are driven by a science-immanent logic (i.e. study questions from science and provide answers for science), or by an interest in practical action and solution (i.e. link science and society), or by some combination of both. There are three main conclusions from our analysis. First, our analysis gives firm philosophical support to the widely held position of methodological pluralism in ecological economics (Norgaard, 1989), and at the same time restricts its misinterpretation as unconditional, and therefore arbitrary, openness to just everything. The rationale behind the plurality of methods in, and approaches to, ecological economics is the underlying plurality of fundamental philosophical positions – such as rationalism and empiricism, motivation by cognitive interest or action interest, or value-freeness and value-integration – which are all legitimate and potentially valuable with respect to the subject matter and aims of EE. So, the apparent heterogeneity of approaches, methods and contributions is not per se problematic but rather necessary to EE. Our suggested methodology provides a framework to systematically structure and to relate this heterogeneity on a meta-level, in a way which is directed towards the subject matter and aims of EE. Such a unified perspective on a meta-level, on the other hand, establishes certain requirements on the plurality of methods and approaches, going beyond “pluralism” in the sense of unconditional and arbitrary openness. Methodological pluralism per se will not necessarily foster EE, but requires a unified basis. It needs to be consistent with, and systematically directed towards, the subject matter and aims of EE. Our suggested general and unifying methodology can help identify these requirements. Second, our analysis has implications about how to do ecological economics in a fruitful and potentially successful manner. We believe that our methodology can serve as guidance not only for the field of EE at large, but also for every individual contribution to EE. For example, simultaneous analysis on the three levels of concepts, models and case studies should, at least potentially, be part of every contribution to EE. While the focus of an individual contribution may, of course, be on one particular level of analysis, the context of the other levels and the entire spectrum of levels need to be present at least potentially. This provides a meta-methodological criterion of how to do EE, which could be used as one essential criterion (among others) to evaluate and assess contributions to EE. In particular, philosophical reflection on the conceptual level as well as thinking in empirical contexts is constitutive and indispensable for all work in EE. Third, our analysis reveals that EE requires specific personal and professional capabilities of ecological economists in addition to the more general scientific skills and capabilities that are required for every scientist (see also Faber, 2008). This has implications, for example, for the education of ecological economists. (i) Interdisciplinarity requires that an ecological economist has a basic understanding of the differences among scientific disciplines and the specific character of each discipline. This does not mean that each ecological economist has to be capable of making a scientific contribution to every discipline in an interdisciplinary endeavor. Yet, each ecological economist should have a basic understanding of every discipline relevant to their specific research topic in terms of its self-understanding, methodology, concepts, models, etc. (ii) Each ecological economist needs basic philosophical knowledge about norms, knowledge, science and their roles in society (i.e. epistemology, ethics, philosophy and history of science). This includes a distinction between different forms of knowledge (i.e. scientific and tacit knowledge) and the distinction between factual and normative knowledge. (iii) For ecological economists, communication skills are critical. In the inter- and transdisciplinary discourse, notions of one particular scientific discipline have to be communicated from the perspective of that discipline to other disciplines or society at large. Together with other disciplines or societal stakeholders they have to be developed into inter- and transdisciplinary notions that fit with the overall inter- or transdisciplinary aim. This requires an awareness of the differing use and potential connotations of notions in different disciplinary and societal discourses, in particular of those notions that are apparently the same in different disciplines. As we have argued for reflexive and guided pluralism in EE, we explicitly do not draw the conclusion that our suggested methodology is the only or “the best” approach to EE. Yet, we believe that this general and unifying methodology has potential (and, of course, limits) as both a description of, and a guide to, ecological economics.