Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Global environmental issues present new tasks for science. Instead of discovery and application of facts, the new fundamental achievements in science must involve addressing the pathologies of our industrial system. Due to the very rapid changes in the environment, society and science itself, and in their interactions, a general awareness of the new state of science has yet to be achieved. In this paper a new scientific method is introduced, which does not pretend to be either value-free or ethically neutral. The product of such a method, applied to this new enterprise, is called "post-normal science". Leading scientific problems can no longer derive from abstracted scientific curiosity or industrial imperatives. They are thrown up by issues where, typically, facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent. In general, the post-normal situation is one where the traditional opposition of "hard" facts and "soft" values is inverted. Decisions are found to be "hard" in every sense, and the scientific inputs are irremediably "soft".

Additional information

Authors: FUNTOWICZ S O, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: 1st International Conference of the EABS : Entropy and Bioeconomics, Roma (IT), Nov. 28-30, 1991
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 36532 ORA
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