Environmental impact assessment and the fallacy of unfinished business

Environmental Ethics 4 (1):37-47 (1982)
Nearly all current attempts at environmental impact analysis and technology assessment fall victim to an ethical and methodological assumption that Keniston termed “the fallacy of unfinished business.” Related to one version of the naturalistic fallacy, this assumption is that technological and environmental problems have only technical, but not social, ethical, or political solutions. After using several impactanalyses to illustrate the policy consequences of the fallacy of unfinished business, I suggest how it might be overcome. Next I present three standard arguments, repeatedly used in technology and environmental impact assessments, by those who subscribe to this “fallacy.” I briefty examine the logical, consequentialist, and historical reasons for rejecting all three arguments in favor of this assumption. Ifmy suggestions are correct, then environmental impact analysis is not only a matter of discovering how to finish our technological business, but also a question of learning how to recognize the ethical and epistemological dimensions of our assessment tasks
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics19824138
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 20,038
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Douglas Torgerson (1980). Industrialization and Assessment: Social Impact Assessment as a Social Phenomenon. President's Advisory Committee on Northern Studies, York University, with the Cooperation of the Northern Social Research Division, Dept. Of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

6 ( #454,618 of 1,793,258 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #463,804 of 1,793,258 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.