Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (1):3-20 (2019)

Andreas T. Christiansen
University of Copenhagen
ABSTRACTA common objection to the precautionary principle is that it is irrational. I argue that this objection goes beyond the often-discussed claim that the principle is incoherent. Instead, I argue, expected utility theory is the source of several more sophisticated irrationality charges against the precautionary principle. I then defend the principle from these objections by arguing that the relevant features of the precautionary principle are part of plausible normative theories, and that the precautionary principle does not diverge more from ideal expected utility maximization than non-ideal expected utility maximizing procedures, and may do better in real-world choices.
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DOI 10.1080/21550085.2019.1581413
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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
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