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Quality assurance of knowledge claims in governance for sustainability: transcending the duality of passion vs. reason

Mario Giampietro and Sandra G.F. Bukkens

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2015, vol. 18, issue 4, 282-309

Abstract: The main problem of quality assurance on knowledge claims lies in the entanglement of normative (value-driven moral stands) and descriptive (narratives about causality) dimensions at different organisational levels of decision-making. Individuals must choose among contrasting legitimate narratives about "the right thing to do" while facing uncertainty about the outcome of their choice. The scientific community faces exactly the same predicament, but without being able to legitimately choose among contrasting value-driven moral stands. At the societal level, existing institutional settings are incapable of guaranteeing the quality of collective choices. Three types of quality control are needed for the proper production and use of knowledge claims for governance: on the usefulness of the chosen problem structuring (relevance); on the pertinence of the scientific representation (plausibility); on the effectiveness of the validation process (fairness). These quality checks are required to legitimise the decision-making process, thus transcending the traditional duality between passion and reason.

Keywords: science for governance; knowledge claims; quality control; multicriteria analysis; integrated assessment; complexity; sustainable development; quality assurance; sustainability; decision making; relevance; plausibility; fairness. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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