Learning from the law to address uncertainty in the precautionary principle

Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (3):313-326 (2001)
Abstract
Environmentalists have advocated the Precautionary Principle (PP) to help guide public and private decisions about the environment. By contrast, industry and its spokesmen have opposed this. There is not one principle, but many that have been recommended for this purpose. Despite the attractiveness of a core idea in all versions of the principle—that decision-makers should take some precautionary steps to ensure that threats of serious and irreversible damage to the environment and public health do not materialize into harm—even one of the most widely endorsed principles needs considerable specification and refinement before it can be used. Moreover, the PP is an approach or guide to utilizing scientific evidence in social or legal decision-making contexts. In this it does not differ in kind from other approaches to using factual information such as in the law. The law provides some models for different strategies to guide decision-making under uncertainty when factual issues cannot be resolved with certainty. These in turn can help guide the formulation of different versions of PP and help clarify some presuppositions of the principle. Once some plausible versions of PP are articulated, I suggest some applications to existing environmental problems.
Keywords precautionary principle  risk assessment  standards of proof  burdens of proof  presumptions
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11948-001-0056-0
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,743
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Is the Precautionary Principle Unscientific?David B. Resnik - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (2):329-344.
The Precautionary Principle and the Dilemma Objection.Daniel Steel - 2013 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 16 (3):321-340.
Innovative Surgery and the Precautionary Principle.Denise Meyerson - 2013 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):jht047.
Extrapolation, Uncertainty Factors, and the Precautionary Principle.Daniel Steel - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (3):356-364.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
How Not to Criticize the Precautionary Principle.Jonathan Hughes - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (5):447 – 464.
Is the Precautionary Principle Unscientific?B. D. - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (2):329-344.
A Core Precautionary Principle.Stephen M. Gardiner - 2006 - Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (1):33–60.
Formulating the Precautionary Principle.Neil A. Manson - 2002 - Environmental Ethics 24 (3):263-274.
Toward Understanding Aspects of the Precautionary Principle.Carl F. Cranor - 2004 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29 (3):259 – 279.
Future Technologies, Dystopic Futures and the Precautionary Principle.Steve Clarke - 2005 - Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):121-126.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

32 ( #162,280 of 2,178,038 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #317,703 of 2,178,038 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums