The article presents the concept of development as the key category in the social, economic and environmental sphere. A positive assessment of changes from the point of view of a specifi c criterion is recognised as a constructive attribute of the defi nition referring to development. The interrelation between such positive value and defining the criterion in clear and concise terms becomes the decisive factor regarding relativity of this category. The general defi nition and core subject matter of development become the basis for establishing a homogenous terminological convention of derivative concepts, consisting most frequently in adding various prefi xes to the word “development” (e.g. “eco-development”) or adjectives (e.g. durable development”) and assigning the due meaning to these new notions. Establishing the meaning substance of any paradigm of development is related to defining certain sets of principles reflecting a given system of values. The axiological system should play the role of a decisive criterion in evaluating the positive nature of changes with regard to human development, as well as to social, economic and environmental development.
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