KristinShrader-Frechette: Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11948-011-9267-1 Authors Matthew Benjamin Reisman, Environmental Studies, The University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, USA Journal Science and Engineering Ethics Online ISSN 1471-5546 Print ISSN 1353-3452.
What Will Work makes a rigorous and compelling case that energy efficiencies and renewable energy-and not nuclear fission or "clean coal"-are the most effective, cheapest, and equitable solutions to the pressing problem of climate change. KristinShrader-Frechette, a respected environmental ethicist and scientist, makes a damning case that the only reason that debate about climate change continues is because fossil-fuel interests pay non-experts to confuse the public. She then builds a comprehensive case against the argument made by many (...) that nuclear fission is a viable solution to the problem, arguing that data on the viability of nuclear power has been misrepresented by the nuclear industry and its supporters. In particular she says that they present deeply flawed cases that nuclear produces low greenhouse gas emissions, that it is financially responsible, that it is safe, and that its risks do not fall mainly on the poor and vulnerable. She argues convincingly that these are all completely false assumptions. Shrader-Frechette then shows that energy efficiency and renewable solutions meet all these requirements - in particular affordability, safety, and equitability. In the end, the cheapest, lowest-carbon, most-sustainable energy solutions also happen to be the most ethical. This urgent book on the most pressing issue of our time will be of interest to anyone involved in environmental and energy policy. -/- "An extraordinary achievement by a philosopher-scientist and public intellectual. The book is unmatched in its synthesis of the empirical data, theory and ethics that infuse the climate-change debates. Its overpowering but transparent argument should be mandatory reading for every elected official. Shrader-Frechette takes practical logic and scientific transparency to new heights. The best book written in the last decade on climate change." - Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University -/- "Shrader-Frechette's book is outstanding. She makes a thorough review of the scientific evidence on nuclear health risks, and also explains the political and economic forces affecting public policy. Very readable for scientists, policy makers, and the public." - Joseph J. Mangano, Radiation and Public Health Project, New York -/- "Fascinating and important! Shrader-Frechette presents the scientific, economic, and ethical evidence for the failure of nuclear power -- it is neither carbon-free nor a viable solution to the energy crisis and global warming. While explaining the nuances of the scientific, economic and ethical arguments, the author teaches the reader why solar and wind energy, along with energy efficiency changes, will yield a safe, healthy, reliable and economically efficient energy future for the planet." - Colleen F. Moore, University of Wisconsin, author of Children and Pollution: Why Scientists Disagree. (shrink)
In the United States alone, industrial and agricultural toxins account for about 60,000 avoidable cancer deaths annually. Pollution-related health costs to Americans are similarly staggering: $13 billion a year from asthma, $351 billion from cardiovascular disease, and $240 billion from occupational disease and injury. Most troubling, children, the poor, and minorities bear the brunt of these health tragedies. Why, asks KristinShrader-Frechette, has the government failed to protect us, and what can we do about it? In this book, (...) at once brilliant and accessible, Shrader-Frechette reveals how politicians, campaign contributors, and lobbyists--and their power over media, advertising, and public relations--have conspired to cover up environmental disease and death. She also shows how science and regulators themselves are frequently "captured" by well-funded polluters and special interests. But most important, the author puts both the blame--and the solution--on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. She argues that everyone, especially in a democracy, has a duty to help prevent avoidable environmental deaths, to remain informed about, and involved in, public-health and environmental decision-making. Toward this end, she outlines specific, concrete ways in which people can contribute to life-saving reforms, many of them building on recommendations of the American Public Health Association. As disturbing as it is, Shrader-Frechette's message is ultimately hopeful. Calling for a new "democratic revolution," she reminds us that while only a fraction of the early colonists supported the American Revolution, that tiny group managed to change the world. Her book embodies the conviction that we can do the same for environmental health, particularly if citizens become the change they seek. -/- "Influential and impressive. " - Nicholas A. Ashford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "Important and compelling, clearly written, accessible. I enthusiastically recommend this book." - James F. Childress, University of Virginia "This book shakes the reader." - Avner de-Shalit, Hebrew University of Jerusalem "Powerful, perspicuous, convincing. Essential reading for today." - Inmaculada de Melo-Martin "A must-read - a book you won't want to put down." - Kevin Elliott, University of South Carolina "An eloquent and persuasive plea to scientists and citizens." - George W. Fisher, Johns Hopkins University "Engaging, compelling - deserves to be read by nearly everyone." - William R. Freudenberg, University of California, Santa Barbara "By one of America's foremost philosophers and public intellectuals; immensely readable, courageous, often startling, insightful." - Richard Hiskes, University of Connecticut "Timely, accessible, and written with enviable clarity and passion. A distinguished philosopher sounds an ethical call to arms to prevent illness and death from pollution." - Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University "A blistering account of how advocacy must be brought to bear on issues of justice and public health." - Jeffrey Kahn, University of Minnesota "Breaks new ground in linking environmental protection with social justice. A brilliant inquiry." - Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University "Powerful, lucid, disturbing, poignantly hopeful, lively; deserves to be widely read." - Hugh Lacey, Swarthmore College "A powerful call to action that needs to be heard by consumers and policymakers alike." - Anna C. Mastroianni, University of Washington "No other author can so forcefully bring together ethical analysis, government policy, and environmental science. Outstanding." - Colleen Moore, University of Wisconsin "Accessible, thoughtful, exceptional. It made me want to go out and slay a few dragons of my own!" - Felicity Sackville Northcott, Johns Hopkins University "Convincing, with an impressive command of scientific knowledge. No book more clearly demonstrates the need for citizen action." - Mark Sagoff, University of Maryland "Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring - brilliant, brave." - Sylvia Hood Washington, University of Illinois, Chicago "This book is inspirational as much as it is scientific....Highly recommended." -- CHOICE. (shrink)
Ethics requires good science. Many scientists, government leaders, and industry representatives support tripling of global-nuclear-energy capacity on the grounds that nuclear fission is “carbon free” and “releases no greenhouse gases.” However, such claims are scientifically questionable (and thus likely to lead to ethically questionable energy choices) for at least 3 reasons. (i) They rely on trimming the data on nuclear greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGE), perhaps in part because flawed Kyoto Protocol conventions require no full nuclear-fuel-cycle assessment of carbon content. (ii) They (...) underestimate nuclear-fuel-cycle releases by erroneously assuming that mostly high-grade uranium ore, with much lower emissions, is used. (iii) They inconsistently compare nuclear-related GHGE only to those from fossil fuels, rather than to those from the best GHG-avoiding energy technologies. Once scientists take account of (i)–(iii), it is possible to show that although the nuclear fuel cycle releases (per kWh) much fewer GHG than coal and oil, nevertheless it releases far more GHG than wind and solar-photovoltaic. Although there may be other, ethical, reasons to support nuclear tripling, reducing or avoiding GHG does not appear to be one of them. (shrink)
Workers generally face higher levels of pollution and risk in their workplace than members of the public. Economists justify the double standard (for workplace versus public exposures to various pollutants) on the grounds of the compensating wage differential (CWD). The CWD, or hazard-pay premium, is the increment in wages, all things being equal, that workers in hazardous environments receive, as compared to other workers. Economists defend the CWD by asserting that workers willingly trade safety for extra money. This essay (1) (...) examines the theory behind the CWD, (2) presents and evaluates economists' Market-Efficiency Argument for the CWD, (3) offers several reasons for questioning the CWD, and (4) applies the Market-Efficiency Argument to a real-world case, that of U. S. nuclear workers. The essay concludes that this argument fails to justify the CWD, at least in the case of U. S. nuclear workers. (shrink)
Shrader-Frechette offers a rigorous philosophical discussion of environmental justice. Explaining fundamental ethical concepts such as equality, property rights, procedural justice, free informed consent, intergenerational equity, and just compensation--and then bringing them to bear on real-world social issues--she shows how many of these core concepts have been compromised for a large segment of the global population, among them Appalachians, African-Americans, workers in hazardous jobs, and indigenous people in developing nations. She argues that burdens like pollution and resource depletion need to (...) be apportioned more equally, and that there are compelling ethical grounds for remedying our environmental problems. She also argues that those affected by environmental problems must be included in the process of remedying those problems; that all citizens have a duty to engage in activism on behalf of Environmental Justice; and that in a democracy it is the people, not the government, that are ultimately responsible for fair use of the environment. (shrink)
The idea that knowledge can be extended by inference from what is known seems highly plausible. Yet, as shown by familiar preface paradox and lottery-type cases, the possibility of aggregating uncertainty casts doubt on its tenability. We show that these considerations go much further than previously recognized and significantly restrict the kinds of closure ordinary theories of knowledge can endorse. Meeting the challenge of uncertainty aggregation requires either the restriction of knowledge-extending inferences to single premises, or eliminating epistemic uncertainty in (...) known premises. The first strategy, while effective, retains little of the original idea—conclusions even of modus ponens inferences from known premises are not always known. We then look at the second strategy, inspecting the most elaborate and promising attempt to secure the epistemic role of basic inferences, namely Timothy Williamson’s safety theory of knowledge. We argue that while it indeed has the merit of allowing basic inferences such as modus ponens to extend knowledge, Williamson’s theory faces formidable difficulties. These difficulties, moreover, arise from the very feature responsible for its virtue- the infallibilism of knowledge. (shrink)
Harman and Lewis credit Kripke with having formulated a puzzle that seems to show that knowledge entails dogmatism. The puzzle is widely regarded as having been solved. In this paper we argue that this standard solution, in its various versions, addresses only a limited aspect of the puzzle and holds no promise of fully resolving it. Analyzing this failure and the proper rendering of the puzzle, it is suggested that it poses a significant challenge for the defense of epistemic closure.
Timothy Williamson has famously argued that the (KK) principle (roughly, that if one knows that p, then one knows that one knows that p) should be rejected. We analyze Williamson’s argument and show that its key premise is ambiguous, and that when it is properly stated this premise no longer supports the argument against (KK). After canvassing possible objections to our argument, we reflect upon some conclusions that suggest significant epistemological ramifications pertaining to the acquisition of knowledge from prior knowledge (...) by deduction. (shrink)
Lotze’s influence on the development of the XIXth and XXth century philosophy and psychology remains largely neglected still today. In this paper, I examine some Lotzean elements in Husserl’s early conception of intentionality, and more specifically in his rejection of the Brentanian concept of intentionality. I argue that Husserl and Lotze, pace Brentano, share a qualitative conception of experiences, what they both call the Zumutesein of experiences. Furthermore, I discuss other issues upon which Husserl and Lotze share common intuitions: the (...) perception of space, the theory of local signs, the realisations of thinking (Leistungen des Denkens) and phenomenology. (shrink)
Is phenomenology nothing else than descriptive psychology? In the first edition of his Logical Investigations (LI), Husserl conceived of phenomenology as a description and analysis of the experiences of knowledge, unequivocally stating that “phenomenology is descriptive psychology.” Most interestingly, although the first edition of the LI was the reference par excellence in phenomenology for the Munich phenomenologists, they remained suspicious of this characterisationof phenomenology. The aim of this paper is to shed new light on the reception of descriptive psychology among (...) Munich phenomenologists and, at the same time, to offer a re-evaluation of their understanding of realist phenomenology. (shrink)
Logical realism is undoubtedly one of the central features which characterize many of the major works in Austrian philosophy from Bolzano to Husserl. Although this remark is true, as we believe, one must not forget the fact that some of the key concepts of Austrian philosophy are rooted in theories that reject realist principles. As an example, take the concept of state of affairs in Austrian philosophy, and more specifically, Franz Brentano's conception of judgement contents. By showing the motives which (...) led Brentano to introduce these judgement contents and by analyzing the arguments given to support his thesis, the present article aims to contrast the initial remark by illustrating, by means of the case of state of affairs, how the interrelations between realist and nominalist positions have shaped the development of Austrian philosophy. (shrink)
Merck suppressed data on harmful effects of its drug Vioxx, and Guidant suppressed data on electrical flaws in one of its heart-defibrillator models. Both cases reveal how financial conflicts of interest can skew biomedical research. Such conflicts also occur in electric-utility-related research. Attempting to show that increased atomic energy can help address climate change, some industry advocates claim nuclear power is an inexpensive way to generate low-carbon electricity. Surveying 30 recent nuclear analyses, this paper shows that industry-funded studies appear to (...) fall into conflicts of interest and to illegitimately trim cost data in several main ways. They exclude costs of full-liability insurance, underestimate interest rates and construction times by using overnight costs, and overestimate load factors and reactor lifetimes. If these trimmed costs are included, nuclear-generated electricity can be shown roughly 6 times more expensive than most studies claim. After answering four objections, the paper concludes that, although there may be reasons to use reactors to address climate change, economics does not appear to be one of them. (shrink)
Scientists are divided on the status of hypothesis H that low doses of ionizing radiation (under 20 rads) cause hormetic (or non-harmful) effects. Military and industrial scientist s tend to accept H, while medical and environmental scientists tend to reject it. Proponents of the strong programme claim this debate shows that uncertain science can be clari ed only by greater attention to the social values in uencing it. While they are in part correct, this paper argues that methodological analyses (not (...) merely attention to social values) also can help clarify uncertain science. The paper analyzes ve measurement uncertainties , as well as seven methodological value judgments, relevant to H. Using criteria of internal and external consistency, as well as predictive power, it argues that metascience also helps resolve this debate. And if so, then value-laden, policy-relevan t science may need, not only more attention to social values in order to resolve and to clarify disputes, but also more conceptual and methodological analyses of science. (This paper suggests what such methodological analyses might be like and uses the case of low-dose risks from radiation to illustrate its points, while a companion paper (“Chemical Hormesis, Conceptual Clari cation, and the Warrant for Policy-Driven Science”) in this same issue of POS suggests what such conceptual analyses might be like and uses the case of low-dose risks from chemicals to illustrate its points.) If this paper’s thesis holds in the very politicize d “hard case” of radiation hormesis, then it suggests that the metascientist s may be right about what is also often necessary to clarify scienti c disputes. (shrink)