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Ecological Economics and Philosophy of Science: Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology and Ideology

  • Clive L. Spash

    ()

Ecological economics has been repeatedly described as transdisciplinary 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.

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File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/sre-disc/sre-disc-2012_03.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business in its series SRE-Disc with number sre-disc-2012_03.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2012_03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Web page: http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/mlgd/

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  10. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Towards the integration of social, economic and ecological knowledge," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_04, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  11. Giuseppe Munda, 1997. "Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics, and the Concept of Sustainable Development," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 6(2), pages 213-233, May.
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  13. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Müller, Birgit & Quaas, Martin, 2008. "Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: The role of concepts, models, and case studies in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 384-393, October.
  14. Soderbaum, Peter, 1992. "Neoclassical and institutional approaches to development and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 127-144, May.
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  19. Tacconi, Luca, 1998. "Scientific methodology for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 91-105, October.
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  21. Norton, Bryan G. & Noonan, Douglas, 2007. "Ecology and valuation: Big changes needed," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 664-675, September.
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  25. Clive L. Spash, 2009. "The New Environmental Pragmatists, Pluralism and Sustainability," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(3), pages 253-256, August.
  26. Mayumi, Kozo, 1997. "Information, pseudo measures and entropy: An elaboration on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's critique," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 249-259, September.
  27. Tony Lawson, 2006. "The nature of heterodox economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 483-505, July.
  28. Castro e Silva, Manuela & Teixeira, Aurora A.C., 2011. "A bibliometric account of the evolution of EE in the last two decades: Is ecological economics (becoming) a post-normal science?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 849-862, March.
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