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Rights at Risk: Ethical Issues in Risk Management
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

he subject of this thesis is ethical aspects of decision-making concerning social risks. It is argued that a model for risk management must acknowledge several ethical aspects and, most crucial among these, the individual’s right not to be unfairly exposed to risks.

Article I takes as its starting point the demand frequently expressed in the risk literature for consistent risk management. It is maintained that a model focusing on cost-benefit analysis does not respect the rights of the individual. Two alternative models are outlined. They evolve around the separateness of individuals, rights, and fair risk taking. It is claimed that a model that focuses on a fair procedure for risk decisions seems most fruitful to develop.

Article II discusses the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) conflict. The ethical premises behind the negative characterization of the NIMBY concept are investigated. It is argued that a collective weighing of risks and benefits ignores individuals’ rights not to be unfairly exposed to risks in siting scenarios.

Article III presents a three-party model tool for ethical risk analysis. The focus in such analysis is a discussion of three parties that are involved in risk decisions: the risk-exposed, the beneficiary, and the decision-maker. Seven crucial ethical questions are discerned by combining these parties pairwise.

Article IV discusses a model for procedural justice for risk decisions. Two theories of deliberative democracy are explored. The first focuses on a hypothetical contract, the second argues for the actual inclusion of affected parties. It is maintained that hypothetical reasoning should mainly serve as a guide concerning risk issues that affect people who cannot be included in the decision-making process. Otherwise an interactive dialogical reasoning is to be preferred.

Article V explores the claim that there are no real, objective risks – only subjective descriptions of them. It is argued that even though every risk can be described in different ways, involve value judgements and emotions, the ideal of objectivity should not be abandoned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2007. , viii, 22 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 25
Keyword [en]
Risk, risk management, consistency, ethics, rights, cost-benefit, interpersonal weighing
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4570ISBN: 978-91-7178-810-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4570DiVA: diva2:12904
Public defence
2007-12-17, Sal D3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100714Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10 Last updated: 2010-07-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Consistent risk management: three models outlined
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consistent risk management: three models outlined
2005 (English)In: Journal of Risk Research, ISSN 1366-9877, E-ISSN 1466-4461, Vol. 8, no 7-8, 557-568 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article introduces three models on how to understand the demand for consistent risk management. The first model, which accords with traditional risk analysis, is called the Standard Model. In this model, the decisive criterion of whether or not to accept a risk is if the total benefit exceeds the total cost. Since this model cannot protect the individual from unfair risk exposure two more models are outlined. The arguments in the Model of Inviolable Rights and in the Model of Procedural Justice evolve around the separateness of individuals, rights and fair risk taking. It is argued that risk management needs to acknowledge a variety of morally salient factors to avoid exposing people unfairly to risks.

Keyword
Costs; Mathematical models; Risk assessment; Risk exposure; Total cost; Risk management
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5692 (URN)10.1080/13669870500085189 (DOI)000233134400001 ()2-s2.0-28044461977 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100714Available from: 2006-05-10 Created: 2006-05-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. The ethics of NIMBY conflicts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The ethics of NIMBY conflicts
2007 (English)In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, E-ISSN 1572-8447, Vol. 10, no 1, 23-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) refers to an oppositional attitude from local residents against some risk generating facility that they have been chosen to host either by government or industry. The attitude is claimed to be characteristic of someone who is positive to a facility but who wants someone else to be its host. Since siting cannot be provided if everyone has this attitude, society ends up in a worse situation. The attitude is claimed to be egoistic and irrational. Here it is argued that the NIMBY critique rests on questionable assumptions about the rightness of weighing total benefit against total cost. This weighing-principle will sometimes have to yield so that the rights of individuals can be acknowledged.

Keyword
Collective good; Cost-benefit; Ethics; Individual good; NIMBY; Rationality; Rights; Risk; Risk management
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5693 (URN)10.1007/s10677-006-9038-2 (DOI)2-s2.0-33847292944 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100714. Uppdaterad från manuskript till artikel 20100714.Available from: 2006-05-10 Created: 2006-05-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. A Three-Party Model Tool for Ethical Risk Analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Three-Party Model Tool for Ethical Risk Analysis
2007 (English)In: Risk Management: An International Journal, ISSN 1460-3799, E-ISSN 1743-4637, Vol. 9, no 3, 129-144 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ethical aspects are crucial in the analysis of risk, but they have often been neglected. One of the reasons for this is the lack of operational tools for the ethical analysis of risks. A model for ethical risk analysis is proposed that focuses on the ethical relationships between three critical parties (or roles) that are present in almost all risk-related decisions: the risk-exposed, the beneficiary and the decision-maker. Seven crucial questions are proposed that can be used to characterize these relationships. It is shown with examples from the railway sector how they can be used to identify the salient ethical features of risk management problems.

Keyword
risk analysis, ethics, risk-exposed, beneficiary, decision-maker
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7775 (URN)10.1057/palgrave.rm.8250028 (DOI)
Note
QC 20100714Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Towards a Fair Procedure for Risk Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a Fair Procedure for Risk Management
2010 (English)In: Journal of Risk Research, ISSN 1366-9877, E-ISSN 1466-4461, Vol. 13, no 4, 501-515 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The need for fairness in risk management is frequently expressed in the risk literature. In this article, fairness is connected to the procedure for decision-making. Two models for procedural justice in the management of risks are discussed, one that focuses on a hypothetical thought experiment, and one that focuses on actual dialogue. The hypothetical approach takes John Rawls' theory of justice as a starting point. The actual inclusion approach employs Iris Marion Young's theory of inclusive deliberative democracy. With Rawls' theory, important issues concerning risk distribution are emphasized, and a parallel between social primary goods and risk management is drawn. The hypothetical reasoning should mainly serve as a guide concerning risk issues that affect people who cannot be included in the decision procedure, such as future generations. However, when the affected can be included, an interactive dialogical reasoning is to be preferred. Here, Young's theory is fruitful. It aims at fair decisions by fulfilling conditions of inclusiveness, equality, reasonableness and publicity.

Keyword
Decision procedure; Deliberative democracy; Ethics; Procedural justice; Risk; Risk management
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7776 (URN)10.1080/13669870903305903 (DOI)000278006400006 ()2-s2.0-77952916010 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100714. Uppdaterad från manuskript till artikel 20100714.Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. Defending the Conception of ‘Objective Risk’
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Defending the Conception of ‘Objective Risk’
2011 (English)In: Risk Analysis, ISSN 0272-4332, E-ISSN 1539-6924, Vol. 32, no 1, 16-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The notion of objective risk is frequently discussed within the risk literature. While some argue that risk analysis measures objective risk, others claim that there are no real, objective risksonly subjective descriptions of them. Objectivity in these discussions often presupposes value-free, dispassionate, and impartial analysis. Feminist epistemology offers a different interpretation of objectivity that is more context-bound. It is argued that even though every risk can be described in several different ways, and does involve value judgments and emotions, the objectivity ideal should not be abandoned.

National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7777 (URN)10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01682.x (DOI)000298742500005 ()
Note
Updated from manuscript to article in journal. QC 20120217Available from: 2007-12-10 Created: 2007-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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