The Convergence of Risk, Safety, and Security – International Workshop of the 3TU.Ethics Task Force “Risk, Safety, and Security”

The Convergence of Risk, Safety, and Security
International Workshop of the 3TU.Ethics Task Force “Risk, Safety, and Security”
November 19th, 2014 – University of Twente (NL)

Introduction to the topic
The workshop will focus on the normative implications of the similarities and differences between the concepts of “risk,” “safety,” and “security.”
On the one hand we witness the convergence of risk, safety, and security in theory and practice: Counterterrorism measure are based on risk assessment (e.g., “trusted travel programs”). Technological risks are framed as security issues (e.g., environmental security or food security). Preventive measures, e.g., in medicine and policing, aim to reduce risks. And in disaster management we may find elements of dealing with risk (e.g., natural forces like floods and hurricanes), safety issues (e.g., hardening the build environment), and security (e.g., riot control).
On the other hand, the relationship between “risk” and “security” seem to exclude each otheris complex. For example, Cass Sunstein in his Laws of Fear (CUP, 2005) made the point that focusing too much on security makes us risk averse. We no longer are willing to accept risks and may miss out future opportunities. Following N. Luhmann it is also important to differentiate between “taking a risk” and “being exposed to risk / threat.” One person’s risk may very well be another person’s safety issue. We also need to take into account that security measures always build on the figure of the attacker, who wants to do harm.
In our workshop we will therefore ask:
1. What can the emerging fields of Ethics of Risk, Safety, and Security learn from each other?
2. Where do we need to account for the differences between Risk, Safety, and Security?
3. And how can we deal with the tensions between the three areas?

Goals of the workshop
The workshop will bring together international scholars from various disciplines with a shared interest in the normative aspects of risk, safety, and security.
The workshop aims to contribute to a joint research agenda on risk, safety, and security for 3TU.Ethics and its partners.
Finally, the workshop provides an opportunity for 3TU.Ethics members to present their work on risk, safety, and security and connect to the Task Force.

The one-day intensive workshop will consist of presentations by international scholars of various disciplines and discussions.
The 3TU.Ethics Task Force “Risk, Safety, and Security” will invite the Non-Dutch participants. We welcome suggestions by the 3TU.Ethics community.

Call for Papers
We invite 3TU.Ethics members to submit an abstract (500-700 words) on the topic of the workshop. We will reserve 15-20 minutes for each presentation. If feasible, we may invite a commentator for each presentation.
The selection of the presentations will not only be based on the academic quality, but also the overall structure and content of the workshop.
Abstracts should be submitted before: September 14th, 2014. Please, send your abstract to: Submissions will be reviewed and selected by the Task Force members by October 6th, 2014.
We also welcome proposals for other formats (e.g., panels).

Call for Participation
The workshop is open to all 3TU.Ethics members. However, the number of participants is limited. If you would like to participate, please let us know by email (
Please also indicate if you would like to comment on one of the presentations. In this case we also ask you to indicate your area of expertise (risk, safety, or security).
The call for participations ends on November 1rst, 2014. Participation is free of charge. Participants have to take care of their own travel expenses.

About the Organizers
The 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology (3TU.Ethics) was founded in 2007 by the board of the 3TU.Federation of the three technical universities in the Netherlands (Delft, Eindhoven, and Twente) to study ethical issues in the development, use and regulation of technology. 3TU.Ethics brings together the expertise of the three philosophy departments in the field of ethics of science, technology and engineering.
The Task Force “Risk, Safety, and Security” is one of four taskforces within 3TU.Ethics. The other three task forces are dedicated to the topics “Energy and sustainability,” “Medical Technology,” and “Robotics.” The current members of the Task Force “Risk, Saftey, and Security” are: Neelke Doorn (TUD), Michael Falgoust (UT), Michael Nagenborg (UT), and Sabine Roeser (TUD).

For further information, please contact:
Michael Nagenborg (