Worldviews and their significance for the global sustainable development debate
International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)
Worldviews and their significance for the global sustainable development debate (Abstract)
Annick Hedlund-de Witt
Insight into worldviews is essential for approaches aiming to design and support (more) sustainable pathways for society, both locally and globally. However, the nature of worldviews remains controversial, and it is still unclear how the concept can best be operationalised in the context of research and practice. One way may be by developing a framework for the understanding and operationalising worldviews by investigating various conceptualisations of the term in the history of philosophy. Worldviews can be understood as inescapable, overarching systems of meaning and meaning making that to a substantial extent inform how humans interpret, enact, and co-create reality. Moreover, worldviews are profoundly historically and developmentally situated. An Integrative Worldview Framework (IWF) can operationalise worldviews by differentiating five interrelated aspects: ontology, epistemology, axiology, anthropology, and societal vision. The evolution of the worldview concept is suggestive of an increasing reflexivity, creativity, responsibility, and inclusiveness - all of which are qualities that appear to be crucial for the global sustainable development debate.