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Precautionary Principles

Elliott, Kevin (2022) Precautionary Principles. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In rough outline, the precautionary principle (PP) states that precautionary actions should be taken to alleviate significant threats to humans or the environment, even if the available scientific information about the threats is limited. In recent decades, various formulations of the PP have received a great deal of attention as sources of guidance for environmental policy making, but many commentators continue to criticize the principle as vague and even incoherent. This chapter suggests that a particularly fruitful way of interpreting the PP is to consider it as a very general concept around which people can rally to demand changes to current environmental science and policy. Under this interpretation, calling for action in accordance with the PP is akin to calling for better approaches to handle environmental decision making under ignorance and uncertainty. One of the advantages of interpreting the PP in this way is that it calls attention to the major problems that its proponents have been trying to highlight, as well as some of the most promising solutions to those problems.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Elliott, Kevinkce@msu.edu0000-0003-3397-7849
Keywords: precautionary principle; environmental ethics; uncertainty; ignorance; decision making
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Environmental Science
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Kevin Elliott
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2022 03:06
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2022 03:06
Item ID: 20734
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Environmental Science
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20734

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