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The Price of Precaution and the Ethics of Risk (The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology)

Christian Munthe

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ISBN 10: 9400713290 / ISBN 13: 9789400713291
Published by Springer, 2011
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Price of Precaution and the Ethics of ...

Publisher: Springer

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 2011.

About this title

Synopsis:

Christian Munthe undertakes an innovative, in-depth philosophical analysis of what the idea of a precautionary principle is and should be about. A novel theory of the ethics of imposing risks is developed and used as a foundation for defending the idea of precaution in environmental and technological policy making against its critics, while at the same time avoiding a number of identified flaws. The theory is shown to have far-reaching practical conclusions for areas such as bio-, information- and nuclear technology, and global environmental policy in areas such as climate change. The author argues that, while the price we pay for precaution must not be too high, we have to be prepared to pay it in order to act ethically defensible. A number of practical suggestions for precautionary regulation and policy making are made on the basis of this, and some challenges to basic ethical theory as well as consumerist societies, the global political order and liberal democracy are identified.

Munthe’s book is a well-argued contribution to the PP debate, putting neglected justificatory and methodological questions at the forefront. His many discussions of alternative accounts as well as his drawing out the consequences of his own suggestion in practical cases give the reader a thorough, holistic sense of what justification of PP amounts to. /..../ Munthe’s main case, his argumentation for the requirement of precaution as a moral norm, is convincing and puts a strong pressure on too narrow alternative suggestions on how it should be perceived and justified, and he launches a plausible defence of its practical usability.

From the Back Cover:

Since a couple of decades, the notion of a precautionary principle plays a central and increasingly influential role in international as well as national policy and regulation regarding the environment and the use of technology. Urging society to take action in the face of potential risks of human activities in these areas, the recent focus on climate change has further sharpened the importance of this idea. However, the idea of a precautionary principle has also been problematised and criticised by scientists, scholars and policy activists, and been accused of almost every intellectual sin imaginable: unclarity, impracticality, arbitrariness and moral as well as political unsoundness. In that light, the very idea of precaution as an ideal for policy making rather comes out as a dead end. On the basis of these contrasting starting points, Christian Munthe undertakes an innovative, in-depth philosophical analysis of what the idea of a precautionary principle is and should be about. A novel theory of the ethics of imposing risks is developed and used as a foundation for defending the idea of precaution in environmental and technological policy making against its critics, while at the same time avoiding a number of identified flaws. The theory is shown to have far-reaching consequences for areas such as bio-, information- and nuclear technology, and global environmental policy in areas such as climate change. The author argues that, while the price we pay for precaution must not be too high, we have to be prepared to pay it in order to act ethically defensible. A number of practical suggestions for precautionary regulation and policy making are made on the basis of this, and some challenges to basic ethical theory as well as consumerist societies, the global political order and liberal democracy are identified.

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