Acceptable Evidence: Science and Values in Risk Management / Edition 1

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Discussions of science and values in risk management have largely focused on how values enter into arguments about risks, that is, issues of acceptable risk. Instead this volume concentrates on how values enter into collecting, interpreting, communicating, and evaluating the evidence of risks, that is, issues of the acceptability of evidence of risk. By focusing on acceptable evidence, this volume avoids two barriers to progress. One barrier assumes that evidence of risk is largely a matter of objective scientific data and therefore uncontroversial. The other assumes that evidence of risk, being "just" a matter of values, is not amenable to reasoned critique. Denying both extremes, this volume argues for a more constructive conclusion: understanding the interrelations of scientific and value issues enables a critical scrutiny of risk assessments and better public deliberation about social choices. The contributors, distinguished philosophers, policy analysts, and natural and social scientists, analyze environmental and medical controversies, and assumptions underlying views about risk assessment and the scientific and statistical models used in risk management.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent survey of a number of issues in environmental ethics."—Joel B. Goldsteen, University of Texas at Arlington

"This volume shows that rational, critical approaches to value-laden risk judgments can be fruitful, making possible more sophisticated risk assessments and risk management that better comprehends the values at stake....The focus on evidence of risk and values holds together the diversity of perspectives and real world examples, making the volume useful for teaching."—Ethics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195089295
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

National Science Foundation

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
I Perceiving and Communicating Risk Evidence
Introduction 3
1. Hidden Hazards 9
2. Acceptable Evidence in a Pluralistic Society 29
3. Beyond Numbers: A Broader Perspective on Risk Perception and Risk Communication 48
4. Guidelines for Communicating Information About Chemical Risks Effectively and Responsibly 66
II Uncertain Evidence in Risk Management
Introduction 93
5. Risk Assessment and Risk Management: An Uneasy Divorce 99
6. Understanding Uncertainties in Medical Evidence: Professional and Public Responsibilities 115
7. Evidential, Ethical, and Policy Disputes: Admissible Evidence in Radioactive Waste Management 137
8. Expert Claims and Social Decisions: Science, Politics, and Responsibility 160
III Philosophy and Scientific Evidence
Introduction 177
9. Knowledge, Values, and Technological Decisions: A Decision Theoretic Approach 183
10. Causing Harm: Epidemiological and Physiological Concepts of Causation 204
11. Reductionist Approaches to Risk 218
12. Sociological Versus Metascientific Views of Risk Assessment 249
Contributors 281
Index 283
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