UCL logo

UCL Discovery

UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Risk, fear, blame, shame and the regulation of public safety

Wolff, J; (2006) Risk, fear, blame, shame and the regulation of public safety. ECON PHILOS , 22 (3) 409 - 427. 10.1017/S0266267106001040. Green open access

[img]
Preview
PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
117Kb

Abstract

The question of when people may impose risks on each other is of fundamental moral importance. Forms of "quantified risk assessment," especially risk cost-benefit analysis, provide one powerful approach to providing a systematic answer. It is also well known that such techniques can show that existing resources could be used more effectively to reduce risk overall. Thus it is often argued that some current practices are irrational. On the other hand critics of quantified risk assessment argue that it cannot adequately capture all relevant features, such as "societal concern" and so should be abandoned. In this paper I argue that current forms of quantified risk assessment are inadequate, and in themselves, therefore, insufficient to demonstrate that current practices are irrational. In particular, I will argue that insufficient attention has been given to the cause of a hazard, which needs to be treated as a primary variable in its own right. However rather than reject quantified risk assessment I wish to supplement it by proposing a framework to make explicit the role causation plays in the understanding of risk, and how it interacts with factors which influence perception of risks and other attitudes to risk control. Once an improved description of risk perception is available it will become possible to have a more informed debate about the normative question: how safety should be regulated.

Type:Article
Title:Risk, fear, blame, shame and the regulation of public safety
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1017/S0266267106001040
Keywords:ALTRUISM
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy

View download statistics for this item

Archive Staff Only: edit this record