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Holarchical Model for Regional Sustainability Assessment

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Downloads: 231 File Size: 377.9kB
Posted By: yschachter Views: 237
Date Added: Thu, Sep 07 2006

By Rodrigo Jiliberto Herrera

Keywords: Rodrigo Jiliberto Herrera, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Strategy, SDS, Murcia, epistemology, representationalist, heuristic, contingent, enactive, participatory, holarchy, holarchical, weak integration, strong integration, regional system, system dynamics, regional sustainability assessment, holarchy of sustainability, holon, holons

The epistemology of sustainability sways between two polar opposites that make up a unified system. On one hand we find what can be described as representationalist, for which sustainability is the result of juxtaposing certain economic, social and environmental aspects of reality. However, complexity and uncertainty are the most relevant epistemological results of trying to define sustainability as an “objective” entity derived from adding analytical perspectives. These two concepts constitute the foundation on which the transitive epistemology of sustainability is built. Complexity and uncertainty lead to the conclusion that Sustainable Development (SD) cannot be expressed and, therefore, the problem of what to do does not depend so much on the description of the object we want to act on, but on how we decide what to do. The methodological and epistemological proposal that has guided the development of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Region of Murcia is equidistant from the two options analysed. It is based on heuristic, enactive, participatory and contingent epistemology for the study of sustainability. It is based on the belief that it is necessary and possible to constitute sustainability as an analytically coherent (i.e., non-arbitrary) object of knowledge which is at the same time autonomous from the analytical-fragmentary descriptions that comprise standard scientific knowledge. In the middle of this epistemology is a systemic ontology that tries to grasp the holoarchical inter-existence of the outer world and focuses primarily on contingent management from an integrated viewpoint rather than on certainty and planning. [Co-Director's note: The author is an integrally-informed sustainable development practitioner. In this piece he loosely addresses the quadrants element of Integral Theory, in discussing interiors and exteriors. He focuses much more, though, on the application of the notion of holons and holarchy to sustainable development strategy. - Barrett]

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