Volume 53, 2008
Theory of Knowledge
On the Need and (im) Possibility of a Sustainability Science
Sustainable development can be regarded as an attempt to bridge the gap between environmental concerns about the increasingly evident ecological consequences of human activities and socio-political concerns about human development issues. The idea that science is not responding adequately to the challenges of our times, and particularly, those posed by the quest for sustainable development is gaining increasing acceptance with scientists and policy-makers. Concurrently, a new kind of science is being called for. ‘Post-normal science’ and ‘Sustainability science’ are, besides others, terms used to indicate a transition towards a new method for dealing with complex and value-laden sustainability issues. In this paper we want to assess both the need and possibility for such a new kind of science. My analysis will take a transcendental perspective by interpreting Kuhn’s paradigm as a necessary condition of possibility for scientific knowledge.