Relating the Philosophy and Practice of Ecological Economics: The Role of Concepts, Models, and Case Studies in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research

18 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2008 Last revised: 2 Jun 2014

See all articles by Stefan Baumgärtner

Stefan Baumgärtner

University of Freiburg - Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Christian U Becker

Colorado State University

Karin Frank

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig

Birgit Müller

UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle

Martin F. Quaas

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

Date Written: January 29, 2008

Abstract

We develop a general and unifying methodology for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this methodology is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, (generic) models and case studies. This provides a systematic and integral view on ecological economics, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to the field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. At the same time, this methodological framework may provide orientation for the further development of ecological economics.

Keywords: ecological economics, interdisciplinarity, philosophy of science, sustainability, transdisciplinarity

JEL Classification: B4, Q24, Q57

Suggested Citation

Baumgärtner, Stefan and Becker, Christian U. and Frank, Karin and Müller, Birgit and Quaas, Martin F., Relating the Philosophy and Practice of Ecological Economics: The Role of Concepts, Models, and Case Studies in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research (January 29, 2008). Ecological Economics, Vol. 67, No. 3, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1264608

Stefan Baumgärtner (Contact Author)

University of Freiburg - Department of Environment and Natural Resources ( email )

Tennebacher Str. 4
Freiburg, 79106
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ere.uni-freiburg.de

Christian U. Becker

Colorado State University ( email )

College of Business
Fort Collins, CO 80526
United States

Karin Frank

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig ( email )

Permoserstrasse 15
Leipzig, D-04318
Germany

Birgit Müller

UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle ( email )

Permoserstrasse 15
D-04318 Leipzig
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=15522

Martin F. Quaas

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig ( email )

Deutscher Platz 5e
Leipzig, 04103
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.idiv.de/bioecon

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