Bent Flyvbjerg  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Phronetic social science is an approach to the study of social – including political and economic – phenomena based on a contemporary interpretation of the Aristotelian concept phronesis, variously translated as practical judgment, common sense, or prudence. Phronesis is the intellectual virtue used to deliberate about which social actions are good or bad for humans. Phronetic social scientists study social phenomena with a focus on values and power. Researchers ask and answer the following four value-rational questions for specific instances of social action:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Is this development desirable?
  3. Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power?
  4. What, if anything, should we do about it?

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