Evaluating the Source of the Risks Associated with Natural Events

Res Publica 17 (2):125-140 (2011)
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Within philosophy there has been little discussion of the risks associated with natural events such as earthquakes. The first objective of this paper is to demonstrate why such risks should be the subject of more sustained philosophical interest. We argue that we cannot simply apply to risks associated with natural events those insights and frameworks for moral evaluation developed in the literature considering ordinary risks, technological risks and the risks posed by anthropogenic climate change. The second objective of this paper is to identify and develop a framework for the moral evaluation of the source of the risks associated with natural events, or the actions which sustain and impact such risks. Our discussion concentrates on the ways the construction and modification of built and natural environments can alter the probability of occurrence of natural events and the character and magnitude of the impact that such events have. We then argue for the need to develop a standard of reasonable care for decisions about the built and modified natural environment, which accounts for technical and resource constraints, as well as the place of natural hazard mitigation in public policy



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Colleen Murphy
Franciscan University of Steubenville

References found in this work

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things.Jane Bennett - 2010 - Durham: Duke University Press.
Philosophy of technology.Maarten Franssen - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Climate change and the future: Discounting for time, wealth, and risk.Simon Caney - 2009 - Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (2):163-186.
Philosophical Perspectives on Risk.Sven Ove Hansson - 2004 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 8 (1):10-35.

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