How Much Doubt can a Pragmatist Bear?

  • Henk Van Den Belt
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 3)


In the preceding chapter Bryan Norton attempts to provide a pragmatist epistemological basis to the strategy of “Adaptive Management” that has been proposed by Aldo Leopold and C.S. Holing as an approach to environmental monitoring and management. He also argues that there is an important analogy between adaptation in evolutionary theory and the adaptations at which Adaptive Management aims, thus reinforcing pragmatism’s claim to be based on sound Darwinian principles. I believe, however, that the prospects for this strategy of environmental management will be rather dim if it really has to be based on the “epistemology” set out by Norton. Furthermore, I also think that the suggested analogy with Darwinian evolutionary theory breaks down in important respects. The hopeful optimism Norton displays about the possibilities of Adaptive Management appears to be contrived and groundless.


Adaptive Management Generational Cohort Preceding Chapter Darwinian Evolutionary Theory Successful Routine 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Henk Van Den Belt

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