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How to Set Rational Environmental Goals: theory and applications
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4063-3219
2006 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Environmental goals are commonly set to guide work towards ecological sustainability. The aim of this thesis is to develop a precise terminology for the description of goals in terms of properties that are important in their practical use as decision-guides and to illustrate how it can be used in evaluations of environmental policy.

Essay I (written together with Sven Ove Hansson) identifies a set of rationality criteria for individual goals and discusses them in relation to the typical function of goals. For a goal to perform its typical function, i.e., to guide and induce action, it must be precise, evaluable, approachable (attainable), and motivating.

Essay II argues that for a goal system to be rational it must not only satisfy the criteria identified in Essay I but should also be coherent. The coherence of a goal system is made up of the relations that hold among the goals, most notably relations of support and conflict, but possibly also relations of operationalization. A major part of the essay consists in a conceptual analysis of the three relations.

Essay III contains an investigation into the rationality of five Swedish environmental objectives through an application of the rationality criteria identified in Essays I-II. The paper draws the conclusion that the objectives are not sufficiently rational according to the suggested criteria. It also briefly points at some of the difficulties that are associated with the use of goals in environmental policy and managemen

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , viii, 14 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1654-627X
Keyword [en]
goal-setting, rationality, precision, evaluability, approachability, motivity, coherence, operationalization, goal conflicts, environmental objectives, sustainable development
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3875ISBN: 91-7178-235-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-3875DiVA: diva2:9828
Presentation
2006-02-09, Avd för filosofi, Teknikringen 78 B, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101111Available from: 2006-03-13 Created: 2006-03-13 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. When Is a Goal Rational?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When Is a Goal Rational?
2005 (English)In: Social Choice and Welfare, ISSN 0176-1714, E-ISSN 1432-217X, Vol. 24, no 2, 343-361 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In decision theory goals are usually taken as given inputs to the analysis, and the focus is on finding the most efficient means to achieve the goals. But where goals are set with the purpose of achieving them, it is important to know what properties they should possess in order to be successful (or achievement-inducing). Four such properties (or rationality criteria) are discussed, namely that goals should be precise, evaluable, approachable and motivating. Precision and evaluability are epistemic properties that concern what the agent may know. Approachability is an ability-related property that concerns what the agent can do. Motivity is a volitional property that concerns what the agent wants to do. Goals may satisfy the rationality criteria to a greater or lesser extent. Some goals are achievement-inducing mainly because they guide action towards the end-state well, others mainly because they motivate the agent to act towards the realization of the end-state.

Keyword
MOTIVATION
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9262 (URN)10.1007/s00355-003-0309-8 (DOI)000230080800008 ()2-s2.0-21244475548 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. What Relations Can Hold among Goals, and Why Does It Matter?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What Relations Can Hold among Goals, and Why Does It Matter?
2009 (English)In: Critica-Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofia, ISSN 0011-1503, Vol. 41, no 121, 47-66 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goals are often set as part of Clusters of goals. On the assumption that goals are set because we want to achieve them it is interesting to study not only the conditions tinder which individual goals are rational (functional) but also the factors that combine to determine the rationality of a goal system. This paper argues that to be rational goal systems ought to be coherent, at least to some degree. The paper provides an analysis of goal system coherence and discusses to what. extent goal conflicts are problematic from an action-guiding viewpoint.

Keyword
goal-setting; rationality; coherence; operationalization; goal conflicts
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9265 (URN)000267776500003 ()2-s2.0-77949535020 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715. Uppdaterad från manuskript till artikel (20100715).Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
3. Setting Rational Environmental Goals: Five Swedish Environmental Quality Objectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Setting Rational Environmental Goals: Five Swedish Environmental Quality Objectives
2007 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, ISSN 0964-0568, E-ISSN 1360-0559, Vol. 50, no 2, 297-316 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goals and performance targets are commonly used as tools in the policy-implementation process. In Sweden, environmental policy is operationalized through a system of environmental quality objectives that were adopted by the Swedish Riksdag in the late 1990s. The objectives describe what level of environmental quality Sweden should aim for within a generation, and are designed to guide decision making in all sectors of society. However, to guide decision making toward improved environmental quality, these objectives should satisfy a set of rationality (functionality) criteria; they should be precise, evaluable, approachable, motivating and coherent. In this paper, five Swedish environmental quality objectives are investigated through an application of the suggested criteria: (1) a balanced marine environment, flourishing coastal areas and archipelagos; (2) a magnificent mountain landscape; (3) a non-toxic environment; (4) natural acidification only; and (5) a good built environment. The aim of the paper is to bring the rationality of the objectives up for discussion, and to illustrate the range of issues and difficulties that are involved in choosing and assessing environmental policy goals.

Keyword
MANAGEMENT; STABILITY; BALANCE; VALUES; POLICY
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9269 (URN)10.1080/09640560601156540 (DOI)000248977000007 ()2-s2.0-33947141942 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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