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Helhedsorienteret forskning i jordbruget - bidrag til systemisk metodik og etik: En undersøgelse af forholdet mellem videnskab og værdier med særlig reference til økologisk jordbrug.

Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted (2000) Helhedsorienteret forskning i jordbruget - bidrag til systemisk metodik og etik: En undersøgelse af forholdet mellem videnskab og værdier med særlig reference til økologisk jordbrug. [Wholeness-oriented research in agriculture - contributions to systemic methodology and ethics: An inquiry into the relation between science and values with particular regard to organic agriculture.] Thesis, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming. .

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Summary

Denne afhandling undersøger spørgsmålet: "Hvor og hvordan spiller værdier en rolle i videnskab, og hvilken rolle skal de spille?" Udgangspunktet er at jordbrugsforskning er en systemisk videnskab, idet den forandrer det den undersøger – jordbruget. Dette fører til en forståelse af forskning som en cirkulær læreproces hvor forskningen både er en involveret aktør og en adskilt observatør. De væsentligste kvalitetskriterier for systemisk forskning er relevans, der stiller forskningen over for bestemte værdier og mål, og refleksiv objektivitet, der indebærer at forskningen ikke alene skal beskrive de metoder der bruges, men også den værdiladede kontekst der ligger bag valget af metoderne. Afhandlingen analyserer også nogle af de værdiladede begreber der er centrale for forskning i økologisk jordbrug – dyrevelfærd, bæredygtighed og forsigtighedsprincippet – og beskriver systemisk etik som et bud på et nyt etisk grundlag for disse begreber.

Summary translation

Alrøe, H.F. (2000) Wholeness-oriented research in agriculture – contributions to systemic methodology and ethics: An inquiry into the relation between science and values with particular regard to organic agriculture. Ph.D. thesis at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming.
The thesis consists of five articles in English and a synopsis in Danish. Below is a short summary and a list of the articles.
SUMMARY
Agriculture has undergone a rapid technological and structural development in the last half century. This development has led to a rising disapproval of the intensive produc-tion methods and their consequences for agricultural sustainability, for the quality of nature and environment, for livestock welfare, and for food safety and human health. The strong debate and criticism of agricultural production methods is not only due to the development, but also to an increased knowledge of the consequences of agricultural practice as well as a rising awareness of uncertainties and ignorance concerning the consequences. Furthermore, the debate is also due to more general changes in the conceptions of nature and science and in the values and ethics employed in societal decisions.
These developments in agriculture and society are a challenge to agricultural science, and they have led to demands for more wholeness-oriented methods in science. The overall goals for this thesis have been to investigate the basis for doing wholeness-oriented research in agriculture and contribute to the development of a systemic research methodology. The term 'systemic research methodology' is to be understood as the actual method or procedure that results in wholeness-oriented research. 'Wholeness-oriented research' is not a precise and clear-cut concept, but it expresses an orientation towards those larger systems that research and research objects are a part of, both in relation to society and the ecological systems. This means that relevance is seen as a significant criterion of quality for research, and that goals, intentions, and values therefore play an important role in research. On the other hand, the inclusion of values leads to the question of whether systemic research is really scientific. This goes for agricultural science in general, but the role of values is particularly evident in relation to organic farming, because here special values and goals, which are connected with a holistic or systemic conception of the world, play an obvious and decisive role, and because this sector at the same time undergoes a very dynamic development. Wholeness-orientation also conveys a reflection on the process of research, including the specialisation into disciplines and the reduction that takes place in research, and the implications of this for the cross-disciplinary problems related to agriculture, environment and welfare.
On this background the specific aim of this thesis is to investigate the relation between science and values - with particular regard to organic farming. The focus has been on two main questions: "Where and how do values play a role in science, and which role should they play?" and "What is the ethical basis for the key concepts about sustainable agriculture?", with the main emphasis on the first question. As evident from the form of these questions, the aim is to give a philosophical contribution to research methodology and ethics and not, for instance, a descriptive sociological study of the role of values in science. 'Philosophical' in the exact sense that this work is to be seen as a part of the self-reflection of agricultural science in relation to the challenges it is faced with.
The first main question is addressed by way of an investigation of science as a learning process. This investigation leads to a model of the self-reflective learning process of systemic research, which entails both an involved, value-laden actor stance and a detached 'objective' observer stance (see Article 1 and 2). And to the suggestion of 'reflexive objectivity' as a general criterion for good systemic research in interplay with the criterion of relevance. One of the consequences of the conventional ideal of objectivity in science has been a quite narrow conception of what 'real science' is. Showing the common cognitive and philosophical source of a broader range of different kinds of research and science provides a new basis for discussing how they relate to each other, and what that means for their function in society and in the cooperation between different kinds of science. Wholeness-oriented research does not entail a break with conventional disciplinary science, but it does put it into a different perspective in relation to the reduction that takes place before 'objective' research can be done. On the other hand there are also particular methodological and ethical problems in doing research in more complex research worlds. The systemic research methodology includes reductive, analytical research as a significant part of science, so far as it reflects on those aspects that are left out in reduction, in accordance with the criteria of reflexive objectivity and relevance. A common frame for understanding different kinds of science has been outlined as a ground for cross-disciplinary, systemic research. A frame that shows the relation between epistemic and normative science, between more reductive and less reductive science, and between involved and detached, observational science (see Article 2).
With respect to the first main question there has also been performed specific analyses of how values enter into scientific concepts and procedures. It has been shown how and where the basic principles and goals in organic farming imply a particular understanding of livestock welfare (see Article 3). The importance of 'naturalness' in organic farming shows a particular connection with the conception of animal welfare as leading a natural life. And it emphasises the significance of maintaining the naturalness or integrity of the animals in connection with breeding and biotechnology. The systemic perspective in organic farming points to the solution of animal welfare problems through changes in the choice and reproduction of breeds, changes in the farm structure, and changes in the larger production and consumption system, including consumer conceptions and preferences. In connection with a survey that was to assess the consequences of a total organic conversion of Danish agriculture, the concepts of sustainability and precaution were analysed (see Article 4). It is shown how the modelling of a future, alternative agriculture involves a vision of this future state as a basis for determining the key assumptions of the model. And how the determination of the vision and the assumptions involves an inquiry into how they relate to the basic values and principles of organic farming, including the particular understanding of sustainability as functional integrity and the perception of precaution found in the precautionary principle.
The second main question is addressed by way of the outline of a systemic ethic, which shows how sustainability as functional integrity can be connected with the systemic moral considerability of the larger socio-ecological system that the individual is a part of (see Article 5). And how the precautionary principle is related to an extension of the moral grounds of action beyond the known consequences to include also the unknown consequences. An extension that puts scientific knowledge in a different position than it has in a rationalistic, consequentialistic ethic.
LIST OF ARTICLES
Article 1:
Alrøe, H.F. Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science.
Online at <http://orgprints.org/429>
Article 2:
Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Towards a systemic research methodology in agriculture: Rethinking the role of values in science.
Online at <http://orgprints.org/5>
Article 3:
Alrøe, H.F., Vaarst, M. and Kristensen, E.S. Does organic farming face distinctive livestock welfare issues?
Online at <http://orgprints.org/430>
Article 4:
Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Researching alternative, sustainable agricultural systems: A modelling approach by examples from Denmark.
Online at <http://orgprints.org/209>
Article 5:
Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Towards a systemic ethic: In search of an ethical basis for sustainability and precaution.
Online at <http://orgprints.org/552>

EPrint Type:Thesis
Thesis Type:Ph.D. thesis
Keywords:værdier, videnskab, forskning, systemisk, forskningsmetodik, filosofi, refleksiv objektivitet, kognitiv kontekst, etik, miljøtik, dyrevelfærd, naturlig adfærd, helhedsorienteret, holistisk, holisme, reduktionistisk, reduktionisme, økologisk jordbrug, læring, økologiske scenarier, total økologisk omlægning, 100% økologi, philosophy of science, learning, reflexive objectivity, cognitive context, agriculture, systemic research, research methodology, research philosophy, ethics, environmental ethics, intrinsic value, nature, animal welfare, naturalness, natural behaviour, organic farming, organic agriculture, holistic, holism, wholeness, reductionistic, reductionism, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, conversion, modelling, modeling, 100% organic, all-organic, scenarium, scenarios, Bichel
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Values, standards and certification
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > VI Synthesis of knowledge and researcher education
Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > V.1 (SYNERGY) Coordination and synergy
Related Links:http://hugo.alroe.dk, http://orgprints.org/429, http://orgprints.org/5, http://orgprints.org/430, http://orgprints.org/209, http://orgprints.org/552
Deposited By: Alrøe, Ph.D. Hugo Fjelsted
ID Code:15
Deposited On:24 Sep 2002
Last Modified:04 Jun 2013 09:22
Document Language:Danish - Dansk
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:The thesis consists of five articles in English and a synopsis in Danish. The original thesis can be requested at Forskningscenter for Økologisk Jordbrug, Postboks 50, DK-8830 Tjele.
Article 1: Alrøe, H.F. Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science. (Revised version published in Cybernetics and Human Knowing, Vol. 7, no. 4, 2000, pp. 57-78.)
Online at <http://orgprints.org/429>
Article 2: Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Towards a systemic research methodology in agriculture: Rethinking the role of values in science. (Revised version published in Agriculture and Human Values Vol. 19, no. 1, 2002, pp. 3-23.)
Online at <http://orgprints.org/5>
Article 3: Alrøe, H.F., Vaarst, M. and Kristensen, E.S. Does organic farming face distinctive livestock welfare issues? (Revised version published in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 14, no. 3, 2001, pp. 275-99.)
Online at <http://orgprints.org/430>
Article 4: Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Researching alternative, sustainable agricultural systems: A modelling approach by examples from Denmark. (Published in: Integrative systems approaches to natural and social dynamics, edited by Matthies, M., Malchow, H., and Kriz, J., Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2001, pp. 437-67.)
Online at <http://orgprints.org/209>
Article 5: Alrøe, H.F. and Kristensen, E.S. Towards a systemic ethic: In search of an ethical basis for sustainability and precaution. (Revised version published in Environmental Ethics 25(1): 59–78.)
Online at <http://orgprints.org/552>

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