Risk and Responsibility: A Complex and Evolving Relationship

Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (1):91-102 (2012)
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This paper analyses the nature of the relationship between risk and responsibility. Since neither the concept of risk nor the concept of responsibility has an unequivocal definition, it is obvious that there is no single interpretation of their relationship. After introducing the different meanings of responsibility used in this paper, we analyse four conceptions of risk. This allows us to make their link with responsibility explicit and to determine if a shift in the connection between risk and responsibility can be outlined. (1) In the engineer’s paradigm, the quantitative conception of risk does not include any concept of responsibility. Their relationship is indirect, the locus of responsibility being risk management. (2) In Mary Douglas’ cultural theory, risks are constructed through the responsibilities they engage. (3) Rayner and (4) Wolff go further by integrating forms of responsibility in the definition of risk itself. Analysis of these four frameworks shows that the concepts of risk and responsibility are increasingly intertwined. This tendency is reinforced by increasing public awareness and a call for the integration of a moral dimension in risk management. Therefore, we suggest that a form of virtue-responsibility should also be integrated in the concept of risk.



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Citations of this work

Risk.Sven Ove Hansson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Responsible research and innovation key performance indicators in industry.Emad Yaghmaei - 2018 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 16 (2):214-234.
Risk, Responsibility, and Their Relations.Adriana Placani & Stearns Broadhead - 2023 - In Adriana Placani & Stearns Broadhead (eds.), _Risk and Responsibility in Context_. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-28.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Perspectives on Risk.Sven Ove Hansson - 2004 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 8 (1):10-35.
Risk, fear, blame, shame and the regulation of public safety.Jonathan Wolff - 2006 - Economics and Philosophy 22 (3):409-427.
Bhopal: An essay on moral responsibility and civic virtue.John Ladd - 1991 - Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (1):73-91.
Cultural theory and risk analysis.Steve Rayner - 1992 - In S. Krimsky & D. Golding (eds.), Social Theories of Risk. Praeger. pp. 83--115.

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