Philosophical issues related to risks and values

Renato Rodrigues Kinouchi


This paper begins with the assumption that the concept of risk implies an entanglement between facts and values. This is not an arbitrary assumption since it can directly be deduced from the standard notion of risk. The value-ladenness of risk raises at least two further issues: the first one concerns the scales adopted to evaluate the severity of risks; the second concerns the commensurability/comparability of risks to human health and the environment. Some additional light is shed on those issues by asking what would happen if the models used in risk analysis were understood as fictions limited by the values that they can include. From this point of view, controversies on the limited scope of standard risk assessments are not only descriptive but also evaluative.

Keywords: commensurability, comparability, fiction, models, risk, values.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [Updated on September 23, 2016].

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