- Philosophical foundations of social-ecological systems (SES) research
- Institutional Economics / SES-Framework
- Transdisciplinary analysis of SES
- Theory and value orientation of scientific assessments
- Applying resilience thinking
Tilman Hertz' research explores to what extent process ontologies can help us better understand social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems
Hertz' research deals with the question of to what extent the study of process ontologies can help us further understand social-ecological systems (SES). SES are a class of complex adaptive systems (CAS) and exhibit many properties, such as processes of emergence, diversity and individuality of components, non-linearity and self-organization that can well be accounted for in the framework of process ontologies. However, “grounding” CAS on process ontologies may have far-reaching epistemological and methodological consequences as to how we study CAS.
This may be very different compared to how we normally study CAS in the framework of classical substance ontologies. Hertz works with Maja Schlüter within the MuSES project (Towards middle-range theories of the co-evolutionary dynamics of multi-level social-ecological systems) to apply process thinking to emergent phenomena in the framework of case studies in Mexico (small-scale fisheries) and Uzbekistan (water management).
A further interest of Hertz lies in studying and developing approaches to disclosing and bridging the many different ontologies and epistemologies used in SES research in view of fostering transdisciplinary knowledge integration.
Hertz has studied Economic Sciences and Philosophy in Scotland and France and obtained his Doctoral Degree in Economic Sciences from the University of Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, which was supervised by Professor Alan Kirman focusing on common pool resources and evolutionary game theory.
In the framework of a variety of academic assignments he worked with the Department of Resource Economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin where he was a scientific coordinator for the project “Sustainable Hyderabad.”
He has also worked extensively with development cooperation (GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) in Indonesia and India, especially in the area of adaptation to climate change. In the framework of these assignments, he was particularly interested in how to integrate resilience thinking into vulnerability analyses to climate change and in designing the entire climate change adaptation cycle in a participatory and inclusive manner in order to deal with theory- and value orientation of scientific assessments.
Hertz is a member of IUCNs (International Union for Conservation of Nature) CEM (Commission of Ecosystem Services) thematic groups of Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation.
News articles with Hertz, Tilman
Research news | 2022-09-28
To curb biodiversity loss, development cooperation needs a rethink
Working paper highlights the need for development cooperation to adopt complexity-aware theories of change
Research news | 2022-04-22
How to visualize cause and effect
Study examines the strengths and weaknesses of different visualizations that can be used to illustrate causality in social-ecological systems
Research news | 2021-11-16
Why background conditions should not be put in the background
We should keep our options open to understand why certain things are seen the way they are
Research news | 2020-05-26
Everything flows in social ecological systems. Research needs to adapt
Focusing on processes and relations rather than entities can help solve key challenges in sustainability research
Publications by Hertz, Tilman
Visualization of causation in social-ecological systems
Journal / article | 2022
In social-ecological systems (SES), where social and ecological processes are intertwined, phenomena are usually complex and involve multiple interdependent causes. Figuring out causal relationships is thus challenging but needed to better understand and then affect or manage such systems. One important and widely used tool to identify and communicate causal relationships is visualization. Here, we present several common visua...
Complexity-based social-ecological systems research: philosophical foundations and practical implications
Book chapter | 2021
This chapter is part of The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems which provides a synthetic guide to the range of methods that can be employed in social-ecological systems (SES) research. The book is primarily targeted at graduate students, lecturers and researchers working on SES, and has been written in a style that is accessible to readers entering the field from a variety of different disci...
The Cod and the Cut: Intra-Active Intuitions
Journal / article | 2021
Interest in causality is growing in sustainability science and it has been argued that a multiplicity of approaches is needed to account for the complexities of social-ecological dynamics. However, many of these approaches operate within perspectives that establish a separation between what has causal agency and all the rest, which is relegated to the role of background conditions. We argue that the distinction between causal...
Towards a Process Epistemology for the Analysis of Social-Ecological System
Journal / article | 2020
This paper proposes an epistemological approach to analyse social-ecological systems from a process perspective in order to better tackle the co-constitution of the social and the ecological and the dynamism of these systems. It highlights the usefulness of rethinking our conceptual tools taking processes and relations as the main constituents of reality instead of fundamental substances or essences. We introduce the concept o...