Keywords: discourse ethics, environmental ethics, multicriteria decision aid, utilitarianism
Ethics of multicriteria analysis
Multicriteria analysis needs a normative basis. Utilitarianism could be such a normative basis, but it cannot meet the normative demands in the contexts of sustainable development. Another ethical approach, discursive ethics, can be applied to social dilemmas, but it cannot integrate all arguments relevant to environmental ethics. The context of pluralistic ethics could provide an ethical basis for multicriteria analysis here, the decision actors do not have to adhere to principles other than the respect for the autonomy of the people involved and the respect for their respective ethical convictions. A multicriteria analysis based on a pluralistic ethics necessitates criteria that respect the different ethical convictions, even if these criteria rest on non-scientific parameters. The solution-finding process that is supported by multicriteria decision aid helps to clarify the basic elements of ethical life and the consequences of different options.