Deliberative Decisions and Formal Multicriteria Analysis: Addressing Nortons Skepticism

  • Sahotra SarkarEmail author
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 26)


Norton has argued for the salience of deliberative strategies for making environmental decisions which is supposed to be preferable to formal decision analysis. This paper argues that formal multicriteria decision analysis, when deployed with care, has the flexibility to absorb the advantages of deliberative decision making. It can also be used for decision support during a deliberative process. This feature of decision analysis is illustrated using a case study from Merauke in Papua province of Indonesian New Guinea.


Conservation area networks Decision theory Objectives hierarchy Merauke Mulicriteria analysis Systematic conservation planning 



The ideas reported here have been developed through discussions over several decades with a large number of collaborators: Jim Dyer, Chris Margules, and Victor Sànchez-Cordero deserve special mention. Laboratory members who have contributed to this work include Trevon Fuller, Justin Garson, Patricia Illoldi-Rangel, Alex Moffett, and Chris Pappas. For Figs. 13.2 and 13.3, thanks are due to Michael Ciarleglio. For comments on an earlier draft thanks are due to Ben Minteer and Bryan Norton.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Philosophy and Integrative BiologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Presidency UniversityKolkataIndia

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