Having no competitive works, this unique publication presents a single structure for the analysis, explanation and solution of environmental problems, regardless of their location, nature or scale.

In this problem-oriented approach, a coherent framework interconnects the study of facts and values, environmental systems, social causes and ethical premises. Counterbalancing current biases, the author emphasizes the fundamental, normative, economic and social-scientific aspects of truly interdisciplinary environmental science. For instance, the normative side of environmental problems are often neglected, resulting in policy designs and evaluations containing inefficient mixtures of sophisticated models and poorly grounded normative premises; this is the first major study to enrich the field with more normative consistency and groundedness. It is also the first text to consistently identify the social causes of environmental problems, rather than focusing on the physical-scientific aspects, and thus design deeper and more effective policies. Furthermore, a tinge of post-modern thinking runs throughout the book, with special care being taken, however, to constantly keep in view the practical relevance of theory for problem-oriented work.

The book will be of interest to environmental scientists and managers wishing to improve the consistency and depth of their work, to social scientists and geographers wishing to connect their discipline to the environmental problems field, and to general scientists interested in the connections between philosophy and practice.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. 1: Introduction. Environmental science in The Netherlands and the position of this study. Theory and the aims of science. Problem-oriented environmental science. Aim, structure and overview of this study. Annex 1.I: Research subjects 1986, 1990. Annex 1.II: Empirical, normative, applied: A general image. 2: A Discipline for Interdisciplinarity. Introduction. Exploring the terminology. Mono-, multi- and interdisciplinarity at the studies level. A discipline for interdisciplinarity: what it is and how to make one. Interdisciplinarity at the theory level. Annex 2.I: Principles of curriculum design. 3: Problem-in-Context: A Conceptual Framework for Environmental Science. Sources and preview of Problem-in-Context. Flashes in the noosphere. An applied studies example. Range of application of the Problem-in-Context framework. Types of research in the Problem-in-Context framework. Values and normative contextualization. Social causes as reflected EMIC order (or: people-environment systems regained). Formalizing the social causes. Formalizing the environmental problem. Problem-in-Context summarized. Designing research.4: Values, Functions, Sustainability. Introduction. Final variables, functions, quality: The basic relations. Final variables, functions, quality: Strengthening the system. Working in the structure: Parameter identification and aggregation. The world will speak through us when we let go of the metaphysical voice. Operationalizing for the intrinsic values of nature and people-nature relationships. Functions of the environment. Economic evaluation, I: Sustainability in the national accounts. Economic evalu tion, II: Sustainability and project appraisal. Annex 4.I: Sustainability as the foundational modelling variable. 5: Action-in-Context: Researching the Social Causes of Environmental Problems. Introduction. First principle: actors, viewed


No. of pages:
© 1992
Elsevier Science
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the editor

W.T. de Groot

Affiliations and Expertise

Centre for Environmental Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands