Carsten Herrmann-Pillath gives a working paper on ‚Rethinking the Status of Ecological Economics as a Science: The Art of Co-Creation‘

The text is the background paper for my keynote lecture at 13th International Conference of the European Association for Ecological Economics held at Turku, Finland, June 18-21, this year. It argues that the sciences of climate change and economics face an intellectual crisis because of a fundamental misconception about the relationship between science and the real world. This takes the idea for granted that subject and object can be unequivocally separated in the scientific endeavour, thus aiming at achieving an objective ‘view from nowhere’. Against this I posit that for understanding hypercomplex systems involving human action it is essential to recognize that subject and object stand in a relationship of co-creation with each other. In a co-creative setting, science becomes art, and art is the appropriate epistemic approach in generating knowledge that can guide meaningful and effective action. I suggest the framework of semiotics for putting this thesis on a firm philosophical ground on which appropriate methodologies can flourish, such as ventilated in participatory modelling approaches in Ecological Economics. An important theoretical concept is ‘design’: Design is the science of artfully creating agent-environment interaction patterns mediated by technology.