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Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals by going beyond Modernity: An ethical evaluation within a worldview framework

  • Bert J. M. de Vries (a1)

Non-technical summary

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets are an important achievement. They largely reflect the worldview of Modernity, with its emphasis on scientific and planning rationality and emancipatory ideals. This worldview is no longer evident and dominant, and it is time to systematically explore complementing worldviews. Explicit use of worldviews, as sets of values and beliefs, and ethics enriches the interpretation and implementation of the SDGs. This facilitates the engagement of citizens in their real-world diversity and the development of respect for and empathy and cooperation with people holding other values, beliefs and morals. Dialogue around ‘the middle road’ can give guidance to just, fair and sustainable development pathways.

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Author for correspondence: Prof Bert J. M. de Vries, E-mail:


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