Roeser, S. (2010)

Edited by: Sabine Roeser
Publisher: Springer
available online here


“Are emotions sources of valid intuition about risks, windows onto deep values that policy makers need to take into account? Or are emotions an erratic, biasing, influence on decision making that that policy makers should ignore? Reading this book may not bring you to a definitive answer, but it will expose you to informed, often diametrically opposed, perspectives by leading authorities on emotion, risk and public policy. In one definitive volume, this book presents a remarkable compilation of eloquent wisdom on a topic that keeps growing in importance as environmental and technological risks proliferate.”
Prof.dr. George Loewenstein, Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology, Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

By offering an innovative and challenging approach to the topic of risk and emotion, this book covers completely new territory. It focuses on risk and emotion from the perspective of moral philosophy and emphasizes that emotions are an important source of moral knowledge. The book connects to important debates about risk and emotion in empirical decision theory. However, whereas in these debates, emotions are mainly seen as a threat for rational decision making, this book investigates the novel idea that emotions might be a normative guide in making judgments about morally acceptable risks.

Technological risks such as cloning, GM-foods, and nuclear energy spark heated and emotional debates. Many people are afraid of the possible unwanted consequences of such technologies. This gives rise to the following normative question: do we need emotions in order to be able to judge whether a technology and its concomitant risks are morally acceptable? This question has direct practical implications: should engineers, scientists and policy makers involved in developing risk regulation take emotions (of the public, but also their own) seriously or not?

This book sets the stage for research into moral emotions and risky technologies. It brings together leading scholars who work in the areas of risk perception, moral emotions, and ethics of risk, and lets them reflect on this exciting and important new topic. The book should be of interest for everybody involved with risk regulation, both at an academic and a practical level.


Acknowledgements; Robert C. Solomon-Foreword; List of Contributors; Sabine Roeser-Introduction; Part I: Emotions as Distortions about Risk; 1. Cass Sunstein-Moral Heuristics and Risk; 2. Ronald de Sousa-Here’s how I Feel: Don’t Trust Feelings! 3. Paul Slovic-“If I look at the Mass I Will Never Act”: Psychic Numbing and Genocide;4. Ross Buck and Whitney A. Davis-Marketing Risk: Emotional Appeals Can Promote the Mindless Acceptance of Risk; 5. Dylan Evans-Emotions as Aids and Obstacles in Thinking about Risky Technologies; Part II: Emotions and Virtues in Risk Assessment; 6. Sabine Döring and Fritz Feger-Risk Assessment as Virtue; 7. Robert C. Roberts-Emotions and Judgments about Risk; 8. Peter Goldie-The Moral Risks of Risky Technologies; 9. Simone van der Burg-Ethical imagination: Broadening Laboratory Deliberations; Part III: Emotions as a Guide to Acceptable Risk; 10. Dan Kahan-Emotion in Risk Regulation: Competing Theories; 11. Dieter Birnbacher-Emotions within the Bounds of Pure Reason: Emotionality and Rationality in the Acceptance of Technological Risks; 12. Felicitas Kraemer-Emotions Involved in Risk Perception;13. Mark Coeckelbergh-Risk Emotions and Risk Judgments: Passive Bodily Experience and Active Moral Reasoning in Judgmental Constellations; 14. Sabine Roeser-Emotional Reflection about Risks; Name and Subject Index.