Authors
Lars Lindblom
Linkoping University
Abstract
Standard tools used in societal risk management such as probabilistic risk analysis or cost–benefit analysis typically define risks in terms of only probabilities and consequences and assume a utilitarian approach to ethics that aims to maximize expected utility. The philosopher Carl F. Cranor has argued against this view by devising a list of plausible aspects of the acceptability of risks that points towards a non-consequentialist ethical theory of societal risk management. This paper revisits Cranor’s list to argue that the alternative ethical theory responsibility-catering prioritarianism can accommodate the aspects identified by Cranor and that the elements in the list can be used to inform the details of how to view risks within this theory. An approach towards operationalizing the theory is proposed based on a prioritarian social welfare function that operates on responsibility-adjusted utilities. A responsibility-catering prioritarian ethical approach towards managing risks is a promising alternative to standard tools such as cost–benefit analysis.
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Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1007/s11948-018-0036-2
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Consequentialism.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard J. Arneson - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.
What is Equality? Part 1: Equality of Welfare.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (3):185-246.

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