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Precautionary Principle

Kapitel i bok
Författare Christian Munthe
Publicerad i International Encyclopedia of Ethics
Sidor 4031–4039
ISBN 9781444367072
Förlag Blackwell
Förlagsort Chichester
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Sidor 4031–4039
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444367072.wb...
Ämnesord bioethics; climate change; decision theory; environmental regulation; ethics; global warming; medicine; normative ethics; philosophy; practical (applied) ethics; risk; technology; uncertainty
Ämneskategorier Bioteknisk etik, Medicinsk etik, Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap, Nationalekonomi, Miljörätt, Forskningspolitik, Teknik och social förändring, Praktisk filosofi, Etik

Sammanfattning

Following the statement in the United Nations' Rio Declaration of 1992 that countries should apply a “precautionary approach” in policymaking on environmental and technological issues, the notion of a precautionary principle (PP) has gained ground in worldwide policymaking and regulation, thus catching the interest of ethics scholars. Although seldom explained in much detail, and resulting in quite different policy results in different countries and areas (O'Riordan et al. 2001; Sandin 1999; Trouwborst 2002; Zander 2010), PP is generally understood as a norm urging or permitting policymakers to take preventive action in the face of unknown, uncertain, or probable dangers, motivated by the experience of how seemingly valuable and promising practices may lead to seriously adverse consequences in spite of lack of solid evidence to this effect (Sandin 1999). In ethics debate, this idea has been applied not only to matters regarding the large-scale introduction and use of technology (e.g., regarding energy production, transport and communication, nano- or biotechnology, and so on) (see Biotechnology; Nanotechnology, Ethics of) with possible ensuing impact on the natural environment connecting to the notion of sustainability (see Sustainability), but also, for example, to abortion (see Abortion), medical genetics, embryo experimentation (see Embryo Research), the treatment of animals (see Animal Experimentation), terrorism (see Terrorism), and general research ethics (see Research Ethics) (Munthe 2011). Many of these applications advocate strong conclusions in spite of the fact that PP or its normative justification have not been made very clear. At the same time, PP has been the subject of criticism, much of which boils down to three points: lack of clarity, lack of practicality, and/or ethical implausibility. Curiously, these critical points have often been made in conjunction, in spite of the fact that a clear sense of what PP means seems necessary for backing up the other two objections.

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