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Module 8: Environmental risks, complexity and Post Normal Science. Environmental risks: problems of irreversibility Complexity, ignorance and “objectivity of science” Post Normal Science. Environmental risks. Irreversibility: for example biodiversity reduction

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Module 8: Environmental risks, complexity and Post Normal Science

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Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

Module 8: Environmental risks, complexity and Post Normal Science

Environmental risks: problems of irreversibility

Complexity, ignorance and “objectivity of science”

Post Normal Science


Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

Environmental risks

Irreversibility: for example biodiversity reduction

Complexity: not possible to know neither the probability, neither the possible outcomes. It implies ignorance


Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

Complexity

Ecological system are dynamic, self adaptive

Small changes in the input can produce big changes in the output

Do we know the “irreversibility threshold”?


Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

“Objectivity” of science

How can a scientific model be objective?

How can 1% or 5% confidence be objective statistical tools?

How far can complexity be reduced by making better models and better tests?

OutcomeProbability

Riskknownknown

Uncertaintyknownunknown

Ignoranceunknownunknown

Do we need prudence? Precaution?

On the base of what can scientist take decisions concerning other people’s lives? (high stakes in decision making)

How far are scientists independent when tey only work in the R&D department of a powerful company?

How far are scientific statements beoming dogmas? “In the name of science and progress”


Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

Post-normal science

Decisionstakes

Professionalconsultancy

Appliednormalscience

uncertainties

Post-normal science

Normal science: Kuhn, “the structure of the scientific revolution”

Post-normal science: Funtowicz and Ravetz: “where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent”

Science should admit irreducible complexity and ignorance

Peer community review and lay people opinion(paricipation, direct democracy)

From substantive rationality to procedural rationality

Substantive rationality = optimal solution; one way flow of infoProcedural rationality = satisficing solution; two-way dialogue


Module 8 environmental risks complexity and post normal science

Bibliography and websites

Giampietro, Mario. 2002: The Precautionary Principle and Ecological Hazards of Genetically Modified Organisms. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment: Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 466–470 (available to photocopy from the Int. Rel. Office)

O’Connor, M., Faucheux, S., Froger, G., Funtowicz, S and Munda, G.: “Emergent complexity and procedural rationality: post-normal science for sustainability” in Costanza, R., Segura, O. and Martinez-Alier, J. <eds,>, 1996: “Getting down to earth : practical applications of ecological economics”(in LIUC library L 333.7 GET and also available to photocopy from the Int. Rel. Office)

Strand, R.: “Crazy theory”(available to photocopy from the Int. Rel. Office)

Strand, R.: “The role of risk assessments in the governance of genetically modified organisms in agriculture ” Journal of Hazardous Materials 86 (2001) 187-204http://scienceserver.cilea.it/pdflinks/03092819594207840.pdf

European Environmental Agency: “Late lessons from early warnings: the precautionary principle 1896-2000”http://reports.eea.eu.int/environmental_issue_report_2001_22/en/Issue_Report_No_22.pdf


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