The Open UniversitySkip to content

Critical systems heuristics: a tool for the inclusion of ethics and values in complex policy decisions

Carr, Susan and Oreszczyn, Sue (2003). Critical systems heuristics: a tool for the inclusion of ethics and values in complex policy decisions. In: Ethics as a Dimension of Agrifood Policy: Proceedings of the 4th Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics, 20-22 March 2003, Toulouse, France.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (329Kb)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


From the introduction Drawing on a study of members of the UK’s Agriculture and Biotechnology Commission, this paper
explores the use of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH) as a structured approach to the inclusion of
ethics and values in complex policy decisions.
CSH was devised by Ulrich in a planning context, as a way of making explicit the value assumptions
underlying practical judgements by means of critical reflection. It is rooted in Critical Systems
Thinking, which challenged earlier notions of systems thinking by introducing a more socially aware
and critical form of systems practice.
Ulrich used the concept of system boundaries to provide a conceptual framework for dealing with the
facts and values that underlie a decision. The CSH framework encourages people to consider critically
such matters as what counts as an ethically-defendable 'improvement', who should benefit, and what
should count as relevant knowledge and sources of expertise.
This paper highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of CSH as a tool for achieving a more
inclusive, critical and self-reflective approach to decision making about genetically modified crops.

Item Type: Conference Item
Extra Information: PDF attached differs from the paper given at the Conference.
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Computing & Communications
Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 5472
Depositing User: Users 13 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2006
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 17:41
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340