Foundations for Sustainability - Chapter 2: Life as the basis of value

Elsevier, Foundations for Sustainability, A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations, 2019, Pages 27-47
Daniel A. Fiscus and Brian D. Fath

In Chapter 1, we mentioned the need for a systems worldview grounded in ideas of life as the basis of value. In this chapter, we describe a set of principles, and related goals, mission, and ultimate purpose, for a new science that serves life and humanity. We adopt the term “Life” to refer to “life–environment as a unified whole”. The principles we propose are for a value system in which the primary basis of value is Life. This puts Life in the dual role of both means and ends. In a holistic sense, there is closure of activity such that an individual’s action makes a life and is a life. This approach is observed in the tightly coupled networks in nature and applied here to humans in both science and society.