Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Safety is an inherently inconsistent concept
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2012 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, Vol. 50, no 7, 1522-1527 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some basic principles for philosophical definition work are introduced and then applied to safety and related concepts. Definitions are provided first for comparative safety concepts such as " safer than" and then for the monadic " safe" . It is shown that " safe" is an inherently inconsistent concept, i.e. it cannot be restored to consistency without giving up what we perceive as some of its central elements. The reason for this is that both absolute and relative conceptions of safety are entrenched in common usage of the term. In order to avoid the inconsistency a strategy of terminological ramification is proposed: We should distinguish between the two concepts " reasonably safe" and " absolutely safe" . Any usage of " safe" or " safety" . simpliciter should be seen as an abbreviated reference to one of these two closely related, remarkably confusable, but still unmergable concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 50, no 7, 1522-1527 p.
Keyword [en]
Conceptual analysis, Definition, Inconsistency, Inherently inconsistent concept, Safe, Safety, Terminology
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-95730DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2012.03.003ISI: 000305265500011ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84860875646OAI: diva2:529042
QC 20120529Available from: 2012-05-29 Created: 2012-05-29 Last updated: 2012-07-16Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textScopus

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hansson, Sven Ove
By organisation
In the same journal
Safety Science

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 44 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link