Ethical criteria of risk acceptance

Erkenntnis 59 (3):291 - 309 (2003)
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Abstract

Mainstream moral theories deal with situations in which the outcome of each possible action is well-determined and knowable. In order to make ethics relevant for problems of risk and uncertainty, moral theories have to be extended so that they cover actions whose outcomes are not determinable beforehand. One approach to this extension problem is to develop methods for appraising probabilistic combinations of outcomes. This approach is investigated and shown not to solve the problem. An alternative approach is then developed. Its starting-point is that everyone has a prima facie moral right not to be exposed to risk. However, this right can be overridden if the risk-exposure is part of an equitable system for risk-taking that works to the advantage of the individual risk-exposed person.

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Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

References found in this work

The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Moral Uncertainty and its Consequences.Ted Lockhart - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Values and Norms.Sven Ove Hansson - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Egalitarianism and responsibility.Richard J. Arneson - 1999 - The Journal of Ethics 3 (3):225-247.

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