To tackle the sustainability challenge, humankind have placed a great deal of faith in the development of new technologies, with a belief that they will miraculously solve this complex issue. The problem is that technology is a double-edged sword: it can help to address the sustainability challenge, but it could also lead to the situation deteriorating further. This all depends on the narrative basis on which the technology is developed and is subsequently used. Thus, while sustainability research typically focuses on facts and logic, the current research proposes another perspective on this discussion. This dissertation focuses on the very narratives that construct the human world, specifically on those regarding sustainability. To deeper understand the sustainability narratives, it reflects on their philosophical underpinnings on different dimensions: personal, individual, organizational and societal. This study reveals that the use of the same philosophical underpinnings of the past to construct sustainability narratives in the present context of humankind and the planet can have disastrous consequences for both. So, it proposes ways to consciously rethink, discuss and change the outdated philosophical underpinnings. It also suggests future directions for sustainability research and practice.

Additional Metadata
Keywords sustainability, being, narrative, sustainability narratives, sustainability challenge, intersubjectivity, ontology, epistomology
Promotor A. Klamer (Arjo) , M.J. Flory (Marja)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISBN 978-94-028-1568-9
Persistent URL
Campos Marques, A.C. (2019, June 27). Sustainability and Being : reflections on the philosophical underpinnings of sustainability narratives. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from