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The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics

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  • Lo, Alex

Abstract

Methodological pluralism advocates balanced consideration of multiple research methods. The concept rests upon the necessity of choice in the absence of conclusive principles to guide the preference of method. Ecological economics, however, appears to be engaging in a different conception creating confusion as to the scope for intellectual openness. This paper offers clarifications for this concept and a critique. Ecological economics advances a coherent theory crafted along its biophysical worldview and moral commitments. These imperatives guide the choice of method and favour a reduced range of methodological possibilities to the exclusion of neoclassical economic options. If ecological economics is seen as an ideological opposite of neoclassical economics, it would need a selective methodological strategy rather than maintaining methodological diversity. Maintaining diversity may erode the basis of its heterodox criticisms by requiring openness to the orthodox alternatives. Ecological economics has shown difficulty in sustaining its long-standing pluralist commitments while increasingly seeking clear differentiation from its monolithic “enemy”.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 49543.

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Date of creation: 12 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49543

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Keywords: Methodological pluralism; methodological diversity; value pluralism; ecological economics; neoclassical economics.;

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