Acceptable Evidence: Science and Values in Risk Management

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Overview


Discussions of science and values in risk management have largely focussed on the entry of values in judging risks, that is, issues of acceptable risk. This volume instead concentrates on the entry of values in 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: views that assume that evidence of risk is largely a matter of objective scientific data and therefore uncontroversial, and views that assume that evidence of risk is ineluctably a matter of values and therefore not amenable to reasoned critique. This volume denies both extremes. It argues for a more constructive conclusion: that understanding the interrelations of scientific with value issues enables a critical scrutiny of risk assessments. This volume analyzes environmental and medical controversies, and assumptions underlying views about risk assessment and the scientific and statistical models used in risk management. Contributors include philosophers, policy analysts, and natural and social scientists.
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Product Details

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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