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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8762||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 77, May 2012, Pages 36–47
Ecological economics has been repeatedly described as transdiciplinary and open to including everything from positivism to relativism. I argue for a revision and rejection of this position in favour of realism and reasoned critique. Looking into the ontological presuppositions and considering an epistemology appropriate for ecological economics to meaningfully exist requires rejecting the form of methodological pluralism which has been advocated since the start of this journal. This means being clear about the differences in our worldview (or paradigm) from others and being aware of the substantive failures of orthodox economics in addressing reality. This paper argues for a fundamental review of the basis upon which ecological economics has been founded and in so doing seeks improved clarity as to the competing and complementary epistemologies and methodologies. In part this requires establishing serious interdisciplinary research to replace superficial transdisciplinary rhetoric. The argument places the future of ecological economics firmly amongst heterodox economic schools of thought and in ideological opposition to those supporting the existing institutional structures perpetuating a false reality of the world's social, environmental and economic systems and their operation.
Early on, in the modern history of ecological economics, both Costanza (1996) and Daly (1991) appealed directly to Schumpeter's preanalytic approach as something which should inform the new movement, and in so doing both quoted the same paragraph of his History of Economic Analysis (Schumpeter, 1994 : 42, paragraph two). This shows early recognition of the need to clarify what is ontologically different about ecological economics and where its key concerns might lie. However, the project seems to have stalled at birth as no distinct set of coherent phenomena appeared, nor currently can be readily identified, as forming the basis of our analytical efforts. This seems to be due to the readiness to accept diversity at the cost of coherence, but more generally, to the lack of theoretical underpinning provided after the initial establishment of the society and journal. In the first issue of this journal, ecological economics was defined by Costanza (1989: 1) as including neoclassical environmental economics and ecological impact studies, as well as encouraging new ways of thinking. The name was taken to signify an “interdisciplinary, and holistic view”, although soon Costanza, 1991 and Costanza, 1996 strongly advocated transdisciplinarity. The journal was stated to be pursuing “a strategy of pluralism”, which was left for definition, in that first issue, by Norgaard (1989) under the title of “methodological pluralism”. That article remains one of the few attempts to explore the philosophy of science behind ecological economics. Norgaard discussed a specific form of positivist epistemology in economics and ecology and concluded this could neither be accepted as ‘the’ way ahead, due to its flaws, nor rejected, due to the practical consideration of its dominance in economics. I will question this argument and conclusion while clarifying the role and meaning of positivism. I will also argue against the all encompassing pluralism which has been advocated ever since, not least because of the resulting incoherence and brushing over of fundamental conflicts between different worldviews and the need to question the validity of those views in light of reality. The first introductory book (Costanza et al., 1998), by leading American figures in the society, maintained an uneasy balance between requesting a new worldview, to address our social and environmental woes, and not ejecting the body of orthodox thinking. Daly, as a co-author of that book, appears to have later developed a seemingly more radical position. The introductory textbook by Daly and Farley (2004) invokes the concepts of both a new preanalytic vision for economics and a Kuhnian revolutionary change. At one point Daly and Farley propose rejection of a value basis in subjective preferences and deride pluralism. They state: “we must have a dogmatic belief in objective value, an objective hierarchy of ends ordered with reference to some concept of ultimate end” (Daly and Farley, 2004: 42).1 However, this lacks explanation and, elsewhere, they call upon what they have attacked (e.g. marginal analysis, utilitarian explanations, mainstream models and concepts), and are happy to endorse tradable permit markets as consistent with ecological economic principles. Their main message is then that scale and distribution must be addressed prior to the pursuit of efficiency. The other main introductory text has no revolutionary claims to make but rather falls back on standard orthodox economic theory and methodology (Common and Stagl, 2005). This includes using the same philosophy of science (a form of logical empiricism) and ethical theory (utilitarianism) as associated with neoclassical economics. Such a position seems to ally ecological economics closely with mainstream environmental and resource economics. On the basis of such books, perhaps we should not then be surprised by Ehrlich (2008: 1) stating that he regards environmental and resource economics as identical to ecological economics, or that the Journal of Economic Literature classifies ecological economics under “Q5—Environmental Economics”.2 Such misclassifications are possible because ecological economists have not themselves made a sufficient stand as to where the differences lie. A keyword search of this journal covering 3402 articles gives one result for ontology (Baumgartner and Quaas, 2010), and four for epistemology (Baumgartner et al., 2001, Bromley, 2008, Mayumi, 1997 and O'Connor, 2000). Lack of attention to the theoretical foundations of ecological economics has left it in a precarious and epistemologically confused position. Faber (2008: 4), in bemoaning the fragility of ecological economics, states: “a generally accepted theoretical framework or methodology has yet to be defined”. Similarly, Røpke (2005) has argued that the knowledge base is not well structured nor systematically organised, and that the identity of the field is weak. The conflict between a proposed new outlook and reliance on existing economic theory and methods leaves authors visibly struggling in their attempts to reconcile the differences. The contention of this paper is that ecological economics requires solid foundations in the philosophy of science to clarify how natural and social sciences can cooperate and the extent to which they can combine in a way which meaningfully advances knowledge. Ecological economics must clarify its position on such issues as the use of mathematical formalism, the role of empiricism and the meaning of pluralism. A distinct and radical synthesis is called for in order to establish new foundations. This can be seen as relating to various calls for developing a preanalytic vision (Costanza, 1996, Costanza et al., 1998, Daly, 1991, Daly and Farley, 2004, Munda, 1997 and Özkaynak et al., 2002). In doing so, we should not be afraid to articulate our ideological positions (Söderbaum, 1999). Indeed, as Schumpeter (1994 ) explained, this is to be expected in the formation of a new or innovative development in economic thought. In conducting this discussion I hope to be more precise than the seminal paper by Norgaard (1989) because he confuses, fails to address or fails to clarify the differences between ontology, epistemology and methodology, between methodological and value pluralism, and between diversity in methods as opposed to methodologies. Epistemology (from the Greek episteme, meaning knowledge) concerns the theoretical basis on which we create understanding of the world. This involves theories about the origin and limits of knowledge. It describes how we can form knowledge about the world and what is the meaning of truly knowing something. What comes prior to how we can know is the metaphysical (ontological) question of what exists, and so what are the primary entities of concern in any given field, and what are their most general features and relationships. What comes after is methodology. The tools of scientific investigation form the methods and the term method should not be confused with or used as shorthand for methodology (as is too often done). Methodology concerns the principles that determine how such tools are deployed and interpreted. Methodology is used in two senses referring to (i) the principles and practices that underlie research in a discipline or subject area, and (ii) the appropriateness of the methods. This requires general principles about the formation of knowledge in practice and so becomes interrelated with the theory of knowledge (i.e., epistemology); in economics, methodology is often used as synonymous with epistemology. Overall we can simplify the philosophy of science as a progression from ontology to epistemology to methodology to methods. This paper does not pretend to be definitive but rather aims to provide some theoretical reflections about the type of ontology, epistemology and methodology which appear most suited to such an interdisciplinary enterprise as ecological economics. Next, in Section 2, the background to epistemological confusion in ecological economics is explained as deriving from a misinterpretation of logical empiricism and its role in economics. This has led to arguments simultaneously attacking positivism in general while arguing for its inclusion alongside conflicting epistemologies under a supposed pluralism. Understanding this confusion requires placing positivism and logical empiricism in context and explaining the development of the latter and its role in economics. This also provides some introduction to key aspects of an empirical epistemology which should inform ecological economics. Section 3 follows this discussion with the case against the existing form of methodological pluralism in ecological economics. Section 4 moves on to explore the concept and meaning of a preanalytic vision and pursues this in the context of refining an ontology and epistemology for ecological economics. Section 5 brings the discussion together via a set of tentative propositions on ontology, epistemology, methodology and ideology. The overall aim is to initiate a debate within ecological economics as to its meaning and future direction.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Officially, economists follow a rigorous and scientific epistemological approach which has been connected to logical empiricism. From this epistemological basis a methodology of deduction in economics has developed. This sets a procedure for gaining knowledge on the basis of theory development leading to hypotheses which are meant to be tested by observation resulting in confirmation or falsification. A summary of the key failures in mainstream economics which have been outlined is that (i) economists do not actually follow their supposed epistemology, (ii) their approach lacks an explicit ontology, (iii) the philosophy of science from which this approach is derived has been caricatured in a single form when it was a diverse and contested body of work. The continued support for mathematical formalism and quantification as providing the sole means to scientific rigour and validity is damaging to an alternative vision for ecological economics. The main reason Norgaard made his, somewhat flawed, case for pluralism appears to have been his concern that ecological economics in its infancy should avoid domination by a prescriptive epistemology, and so lose the opportunity to develop and experiment with other approaches. After over two decades the time for a more progressive stance on the philosophy of science appropriate for ecological economics is overdue. Ecological economics has an empirical aspect and some possible intellectual roots amongst members of the left Vienna Circle. That mainstream economics is not following logical empiricism seems more of a problem than the claim that it is following some form of highly restrictive positivism. Ecological economics is, and should be in part, an empirically based subject, but the form of that empiricism needs development and should not be restricted to a narrow, dogmatic, anti-pluralist, prescriptive caricature, nor based upon appeals to the most popular methodology. There seems no hope for progress if all that is done is to follow a rejected methodology on the grounds that it is believed to be dominant amongst those whom one opposes. This paper is a first tentative step in a project aiming at some coherence as we move from ontology to method. Pursuit of that project should aid the avoidance of holding totally contradictory positions simultaneously. The argument put forward denies the claim that everything can be included and that failing to include all other disciplines and their tools in an indiscriminate manner is paramount to an ‘intellectual turf war’. Ecological economics is not free from ontological or epistemological positions which have methodological implications. The aim here has been to explore these issues and their relevance and to show we can start to formulate a substantively different vision from that of orthodox economics as a school of thought. In criticising unstructured and uncritical pluralism (with respect to methodology) my aim has been to point out that knowledge creation requires refining and rejecting information and approaches. This does not mean that all pluralism is to be thrown out. Rather, grounds for making pluralism meaningful are required and that implies finding common ground for interaction and communication using common concepts. I have argued that those commonalities lie between ecological economics and heterodox economic schools of thought. Neoclassical approaches are in fact then detrimental to developing an alternative economic vision and conflict with epistemological progress. If people wish to undertake such approaches they should do so elsewhere, and so free ecological economics from having to pretend to agree with a series of orthodox fallacies, including: the pretence that there is no biophysical reality imposing limits and economics can be value free. Ecological economics can either develop a more rigorous approach and establish a theoretical structure or become increasingly eclectic, unfocussed and irrelevant. Ecological economics as a conservative movement is an unnecessary waste of time, merely shadowing environmental and resource economics. Ecological economics as a radical movement is required today, more than ever, in order to criticise and change the social organisations and institutions that spread false beliefs about economic, social and environmental reality.