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Precautionary Principle (2020 update)

Kapitel i bok
Författare Christian Munthe
Publicerad i International Encyclopedia of Ethics
ISBN 9781444367072
Förlag Wiley
Förlagsort Chichester
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Språk en
Länkar https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi...
Ämnesord Risk, Ignorance, Uncertainty, Epistemic precaution, Decision making, Decision theory, Applied ethics
Ämneskategorier Teknik och social förändring, Bioteknisk etik, Medicinsk etik, Etik, Praktisk filosofi

Sammanfattning

Ethical debate linking to the precautionary principle (PP) addresses underlying issues regarding the ethics of risk, uncertainty, and public policy. It has evolved quickly from an initial stage of skepticism and scorn, based on critique regarding unclarity, impracticality, and ethical unjustifiability. Nowadays, these points are incorporated into systematic debates on how to best understand and justify a precautionary approach to decision‐ and policy‐making. The general ethical idea behind PP says that in the face of an activity that may produce great harm, we (or society) have reason to ensure that the activity is not undertaken, unless it has been shown not to impose too serious risks. Recent debate has highlighted an epistemic perspective, dividing the debate into two main areas: (a) epistemic precaution, and (b) ethics of risk, which may be related to each other in different ways. With regard to these dimensions, an ethical theory of precaution needs to clarify what determines whether an activity may produce great harm (actualizing both (a) and (b)), what determines whether or not some risk is too serious (actualizing (b)), and what is required to show that too serious risks are not imposed (actualizing (a)). Several competing basic suggestions are in play regarding these issues, actualizing questions about the relationship between traditional ethical theory and the ethics of risk. All suggestions have wide applicability to contested moral and policy areas regarding the use of technology and environmental action, but much work remains to clarify what difference a sound PP makes for these.

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