On Not Defining Sustainability

  title={On Not Defining Sustainability},
  author={Jeffry L. Ramsey},
  journal={Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics},
  • Jeffry L. Ramsey
  • Published 29 September 2015
  • Philosophy
  • Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Definitions of sustainability—and criticisms of the definitions—abound. I argue that there are problems with the definitional approach itself and not just with any specific definition. Wittgenstein (Philosophical investigations (trans: Anscombe GEM). Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1958) argued that definitions are not sufficient to determine meaning or to legislate correct usage of words. For both singular terms and general concepts, meaning is meaning-as-use, proceeding via examples… 
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