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The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics


  • Lo, Alex


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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  • Lo, Alex, 2014. "The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics," MPRA Paper 49543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49543

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    Cited by:

    1. Paunić, Alida, 2016. "Brazil, Preservation of Forest and Biodiversity," MPRA Paper 71462, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


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

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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