Safety, risk acceptability, and morality

Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (3):377-390 (2008)

Abstract
The primary aim of this article is to develop and defend a conceptual analysis of safety. The article begins by considering two previous analyses of safety in terms of risk acceptability. It is argued that these analyses fail because the notion of risk acceptability is more subjective than safety, as risk acceptability takes into account potential benefits in a way that safety does not. A distinction is then made between two different kinds of safety—safety qua cause and safety qua recipient—and both are defined in terms of the probability of a loss of value, though the relationship between safety and the probability of loss varies in each case. It is then shown that although this analysis is less subjective than the previously considered analyses, subjectivity can still enter into judgments of safety via the notions of probability and value. In the final section of this article, it is argued that the difference between safety and risk acceptability is important because it corresponds in significant ways to the difference between consequentialist and deontological moral viewpoints.
Keywords Safety  Risk acceptability  Subjectivity
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-008-9058-5
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References found in this work BETA

Interpretations of Probability.Alan Hájek - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Freedom to Act.Donald Davidson - 1973 - In Ted Honderich (ed.), Essays on Freedom of Action. Routledge.
Safety is More Than the Antonym of Risk.Niklas Möller, Sven Ove Hansson & Martin Peterson - 2006 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (4):419–432.

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