Lotte Asveld & Sabine Roeser (eds.) 2008.

Publisher: London: Earthscan
Sample chapter


‘A comprehensive and important collection that includes essays by some of the leading figures in the field. …Essential reading for anyone interested in risk assessment.’ – Professor Kristin Shrader-Frechette, University of Notre Dame.

‘The editors are to be congratulated for bringing together a distinguished international group of theorists to reflect on the issues. This volume will be sure to raise the level of debate while at the same time showing the importance of philosophical reflection in approaches to the problems of the age.’ – Professor Jonathan Wolff, University College London

This volume brings together top authors from the fields of risk, philosophy, social sciences and psychology to address the issue of how we should decide how far technological risks are morally acceptable or not. The underlying principles are examined, along with methodological challenges, public involvement and instruments for democratization. A strong theoretical basis is complemented by a range of case studies from some of the most contentious areas, including medical ethics and GM crops. This book is a vital new resource for researchers, students and anyone concerned that traditional approaches to risk management don’t adequately address ethical considerations.

Table of Contents

Yvo de Boer

Part I: Introduction
1. The Ethics of Technological Risk: Introduction and Overview
2. An Agenda for the Ethics of Risk

Part II: Principles and Guidelines
3. A Plea for a Rich Conception of Risks
4. Requirements for the Social Acceptability of Risk Generating Technological Activities
5. Clinical Equipoise and the Assessment of Acceptable Therapeutic Risk
6. Acceptable Risk to Future Generations
7. The Ethical Assessment of Unpredictable Risks in the Use of Genetically Engineered Livestock for Biomedical Research

Part III: Methodological Considerations
8. Ethics, Reasons, and Risk Analysis
9. Incommensurability: The Failure to Compare Risks
10. Welfare Judgments and Risk

Part IV: Involving the Public
11. Risk As Feeling: Some Thoughts about Affect, Reason, Risk and Rationality
12. The Relation between Cognition and Affect in Moral Judgments about Risks
13. Risk and Public Imagination: Mediated Risk Perception as Imaginative Moral Judgment
14. Trust and Criteria for Proof of Risk: The Case of Mobile Phone Technology in the Netherlands

Part V: Instruments for Democratization
15. Risk-Management through National Ethics Councils?
16. Ethical Responsibilities of Engineers in Design Processes: Risks, Regulative Frameworks and Societal Division of Labour

Part VI: Conclusion
17. Governing Technological Risks

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Author Information

Sabine Roeser is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology. She has published articles and edited books in the areas of moral philosophy, risk and emotion. Lotte Asveld currently works at the Dutch Institute for Technology Assessment, the Rathenau Institute in The Hague.

Scroll to top