Ecological Economics | VOL. 77
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Ends in view: The capabilities approach in ecological/sustainability economics

Publication Date May 1, 2012

Abstract

While 'traditional' scientific endeavor seeks to avoid the problem, Ecological Economics and the broader emergent field of Sustainability Economics (E/SE) are explicitly grounded in a particular ethico-moral assertion, one that defines sustainability as "a normative notion about the way how humans should act towards nature, and how they are responsible towards one another and future generations" (Baumgartner and Quaas, 2010, p. 445). Thus, E/SE is "neither a purely positive science, nor is it a purely normative endeavor, but it is what has been called 'relevant science'" (Baumgartner and Quaas, 2010, p. 447). A key objective of E/SE is therefore said to be to study how ecosystems and human activity interrelate, in terms that extend beyond functional and descriptive analysis of this interrelationship and towards explicitly incorporating this normative vision. The result that is aimed for is a discipline that is constituted as the best possible approach to 'the science and management of sustainability'.

Concepts
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Relevant Science
Management Of Sustainability
Future Generations
Normative Notion
Capabilities Approach
Ecological Economics
Science Of Sustainability
Field Of Economics
Functional Analysis
Normative Vision

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