Science Policy, Ethics, and Economic Methodology: Some Problems of Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis / Edition 1

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If indeed scientists and technologists, especially economists, set much of the agenda by which the future is played out, and I think they do, then the student of scientific methodology and public ethics has at least three options. He can embrace certain scientific methods and the value they hold for social decisionmaking, much as Milton Friedman has accepted neoclassical econom­ ics. Or, he can condemn them, regardless of their value, much as Stuart Hampshire has rejected risk-cost-benefit analysis (RCBA). Finally, he can critically assess these scientific methods and attempt to provide solutions to the problems he has uncovered. As a philosopher of science seeking the middle path between uncritical acceptance and extremist rejection of the economic methods used in policy analysis, I have tried to avoid the charge of being "anti science". Fred Hapgood, in response to my presentation at a recent Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science, said that my arguments "felt like" a call for rejection of the methods of risk-cost-benefit analysis. Not so, as Chapter Two of this volume should make eminently clear. All my criticisms are construc­ tive ones, and the flaws in economic methodology which I address are uncovered for the purpose of suggesting means of making good techniques better. Likewise, although I criticize the economic methodology by which many technology assessments (TA's) and environmental-impact analyses (EIA's) have been used to justify public projects, it is wrong to conclude that I am anti-technology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'...presents what may be the best philosophic defense we have of economic techniques used in policy analysis. Both the friends and foes of these techniques may profitably read this careful, balanced and scholarly book.'
The Philosophical Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789027718068
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 12/31/1984
  • Edition description: 1985
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 321
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

I. Introduction.- One: An Overview of Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Concepts of Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis.- 2.1. TA and EIA: Similarities and Differences.- 2.2. The Components of TA and EIA.- 2.3. The Uses and Users of TA’s and EIA’s.- 3. The Institutionalization of TA and EIA.- 3.1. The National Environmental Policy ACT (NEPA).- 3.2. The US Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).- 3.3. TA/EIA Outside the OTA.- 4. TA/EIA Methodology.- 5. The Preeminence of Risk-Cost-Benefit Analysis in TA/EIA.- 5.1. The Origins of RCBA.- 5.2. The Techniques of RCBA.- 6. The Role of the Philosopher in TA and EIA.- 6.1. The Role of the Ethicist in TA and EIA.- 6.2. The Role of the Applied Philosopher of Science.- 7. Criticism of TA/EIA and an Outline for Reform.- Notes.- Two: Assessing Risk-Cost-Benefit Analysis, the Preeminent Method of Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Deficiency Argument.- 2.1. Phenomenological Variants of the Deficiency Argument.- 2.2. Kantian Variants of the Deficiency Argument.- 3. Assumptions Underlying the Main Inference of the Deficiency Argument.- 3.1. The Assumption that RCBA Deficiencies Are a Sufficient Condition for Rejecting It.- 3.2. The Assumption That Any Systematic, Rational Form of Policymaking Ought to Be Rejected.- 3.3. The Assumption That Not all Policy Alternatives Have Theoretical Residuals.- 3.4. The Assumption That Wholly Rational Decisionmaking Is Possible.- 3.5. The Assumption That Many of the Constraints on Real-World Decisionmaking May Be Ignored.- 4. The First Premise of the Kantian Argument: RCBA Is Utilitarian.- 5. Conclusion.- Notes.- II. General Methodological Problems.- Three: The Retreat from Ethical Analysis.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Principle of Complete Neutrality.- 2.1. One Case Against Complete Neutrality: Constitutive Values.- 2.2. Another Case Against Neutrality: Contextual Values.- 2.3. The Fact-Value Dichotomy.- 3. The Impossibility of Wholly Objective Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analyses.- 3.1. Methodological Assumptions in Technology Assessment.- 3.2. Evaluative Assumptions in the Light of Inadequate Data.- 3.3. Political Assumptions in TA and EIA.- 4. The Ideal of Complete Neutrality.- 4.1. The Presupposition That Objectivity = Neutrality.- 4.2. The Presupposition That There Is No Place for Philosophical Evaluation in Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis.- 4.3. Consequences of Condemning Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science.- 4.3.1. Sanctioning Ethical Relativism.- 4.3.2. Accepting the Status Quo.- 4.3.3. Masking Central Evaluational Assumptions.- 5. Deemphasizing Nontechnical Policy Solutions.- 6. Alternatives to the Principle and the Ideal of Complete Neutrality.- 6.1. The Importance of Including Philosophical Analysis.- 6.2. The Positivistic Attack on Philosophy.- 7. Conclusion.- Notes.- Four: The Fallacy of Unfinished Business.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Suboptimization and the Status Quo.- 3. The Fallacy of Unifinished Business and the Naturalistic Fallacy.- 4. One Solution: Broadening the Scope of TA and EIA.- 5. Objections to Broadening the Scope of TA and EIA So As to Avoid the Fallacy of Unfinished Business.- 6. Conclusion.- Notes.- III. Particular Methodological Problems.- Five: RCBA and the Aggregation Assumption.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Aggregation Assumption.- 3. Methodological Presuppositions Implicit in the Aggregation Assumption.- 3.1. The Aggregation Assumption and the First Presupposition.- 3.2. The Aggregation Assumption and the Second Presupposition.- 3.3. The Aggregation Assumption and the Third Presupposition.- 4. Theoretical Status of the Aggregation Assumption.- 5. Applications of the Aggregation Assumption to Technology Assessment and Environmental Analysis.- 5.1. Consequences of Ignoring Distributive Impacts.- 5.2. Consequences of Using Subjective Feelings as Criteria.- 5.3. Consequences of Assuming That the Individual Can Best Judge His Welfare.- 5.4. Consequences of Accepting the Market System.- 6. Future Directions and the Aggregation Assumption.- 7. Summary and Conclusions.- Notes.- Six: RCBA and the Assumption of Partial Quantification.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Problem of Quantification.- 3. Arguments Against the Assumption of Partial Quantification.- 3.1. The Argument from Objectivity.- 3.2. The Argument from Misuse.- 3.3. The Argument from Alternatives.- 3.4. The Argument from Simplicity.- 3.5. The Argument from Politics.- 3.6. The Argument from Horse and Rabbit Stew.- 3.7. The Argument from Dehumanization.- 3.8. The Argument from Arbitrariness.- 4. Arguments in Favor of Complete Quantification.- 4.1. The Argument from Uniformity.- 4.2. The Argument from Utility.- 4.3. The Argument from Democracy.- 4.4. The Argument from Intuition.- 4.5. The Argument from Gresham’s Law.- 4.6. The Argument from Clarity.- 4.7. The Argument from Heuristic Power.- 4.8. The Argument from Circularity.- 4.9. The Argument from Realism.- 5. The Consequences of Partial Quantification in Actual RCBA’s.- 6. Conclusion.- Notes.- Seven: The Problem of Regional Equity.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Methodological Problems with Analysis of Distributive Impacts.- 3. Problems with Geographical Distribution of Impacts.- 3.1. The Dilemma of Federalism.- 3.1.1. Federal Supremacy and the War Power.- 3.1.2. Federal Supremacy and Preemption.- 3.1.3. Federal Supremacy and the Interstate Commerce Clause.- 3.1.4. Federal Supremacy and the Law of Eminent Domain.- 3.2. The Ethics of Equality.- 3.2.1. The Principle of Political Equality.- Equality or Sameness of Treatment?.- Equality of Treatment or Equality of Respect?.- 3.2.2. The Principle of Prima-Facie Political Equality.- 3.3. Relevant Bases for Justifying Inequality of Treatment.- 3.3.1. Does Inequality Serve Long-Term Equality?.- 3.3.2. Morally Relevant Reasons Do Not Support Geographical Discrimination.- 3.3.3. A Rejoinder: Geographical Inequalities Are Justifiable Because They Cannot Be Measured/Avoided.- 4. A Case Study.- 4.1. Regulation of Offshore-Energy Technology.- 4.2. Three Uncompensated Regional Costs of Offshore Technology.- 4.3. Assessment Failure to Calculate Regional Costs.- 4.4. Value Judgments About Negative Impacts.- 4.4.1. Sanctioning Laissez-Faire Technology.- 4.4.2 Begging the Question of the Importance of Regional Costs.- 4.4.3. Ignoring Equal Protection.- 4.5. Further Consequences of Ignoring Regional Inequalities.- 5. An Outline for Reform.- Notes.- IV. Steps towards Solutions.- Eight: Ethically Weighted Risk-Cost-Benefit Analysis.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Reasons for Adopting a System of Ethical Weights for RCBA.- 3. Kreese’s Solution for Ethically Weighting RCBA.- 4. Weighting RCBA’s by Means of Lexicographic Ordering of Claims.- 5. Objections to Weighting RCBA’s by Means of Lexicographic Ordering.- 6. Conclusion.- Notes.- Nine: Assessment Through Adversary Proceedings.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Reasons for the Science-Court Proposal.- 3. An Outline of the Science-Court Proposal.- 4. Problems with the Science-Court Proposal.- 5. The Technology Tribunal.- 6. Arguments in Favor of the Technology Tribunal and Against the Assumption That Scientists Ought to Adjudicate Cases Handled by the Tribunal.- 6.1. The Argument from Balance and Objectivity.- 6.2. The Argument from Democracy.- 6.3. The Argument from Education.- 6.4. The Argument from Political Realism.- 6.5. The Argument from G. E. Moore.- 7. Arguments Against Adjudication by the Public.- 7.1. The Assumption That a Majority of Citizens Cannot Acquire the Requisite Scientific Knowledge.- 7.2. The Assumption That Citizens Will Arrive at Poor Conclusions.- 8. Another Objection to the Technology Tribunal.- 9. Conclusion.- Notes.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.

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