Exploring the Foundations of Human Environmental Behavior: A Deep Dive into Relevance Systems and Practical Intelligibility
The exacerbation of global environmental predicament requires that we social scientific scholars take a close look at our assumptions of the nature of human behavior. Instead of assuming that behavior is either epistemically or pragmatically motivated, Schütz argues that people do according to what appears relevant for them in daily situations with their actual biographical state. For Theodore Schatzki it is the practical intelligibility that governs action by specifying what makes sense to do and causes what an actor does next in the continuous flow of activity. The key to understand Beck's dilemma is that environmental experts' system of relevances differs from that of all the other people in terms of the environmental predicament – what seems to be relevant on one level may become entirely irrelevant on the other. This paper contributes to and recapitulates the recent critique against cognitivism in environmental social sciences.