Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (4):785-797 (2015)

Christopher Morgan-Knapp
State University of New York at Binghamton
How cautious should regulators be? A standard answer is consequentialist: regulators should be just cautious enough to maximize expected social value. This paper charts the prospects of a nonconsequentialist - and more precautionary - alternative. More specifically, it argues that a contractualism focused on ex ante consent can motivate the following regulatory criterion: regulators should permit a socially beneficial risky activity only if no one can be expected to be made worse off by it. Broadly speaking, there are two strategies regulators can use to help risky activities satisfy this criterion: regulators can mandate strict safety standards that protect those who would otherwise stand to lose, and they can require that some of the benefits of the activity be redirected to them. In developing these themes, the paper aims to provide a theoretical grounding for those who oppose using risk-cost-benefit analysis as the primary regulatory standard, and in particular, for advocates of the precautionary principle
Keywords Contractualism  Risk  Ex ante  Regulation  Precautionary principle  Cost-benefit analysis
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-014-9552-6
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Just Emissions.Simon Caney - 2012 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (4):255-300.
Can Contractualism Save Us From Aggregation?Barbara H. Fried - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (1):39-66.
Contractualism and Risk Imposition.James Lenman - 2008 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):99-122.

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Citations of this work BETA

Is the Precautionary Principle a Midlevel Principle?Per Sandin & Martin Peterson - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (1):34-48.
The Luckless and the Doomed. Contractualism on Justified Risk-Imposition.Sune Holm - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):231-244.
Responsibility Allocation and Human Rights.Anthony Reeves - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):627-642.
The Costs and Benefits of Prosecution: A Contractualist Justification of Amnesty.Robert Patrick Whelan - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-23.

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