1st Edition

Moral Responsibility and Risk in Society Examples from Emerging Technologies, Public Health and Environment

By Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist Copyright 2019
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    Risks, including health and technological, attract a lot of attention in modern societies, from individuals as well as policy-makers. Human beings have always had to deal with dangers, but contemporary societies conceptualise these dangers as risks, indicating that they are to some extent controllable and calculable. Conceiving of dangers in this way implies a need to analyse how we hold people responsible for risks and how we can and should take responsibility for risks.

    Moral Responsibility and Risk in Society combines philosophical discussion of different concepts and notions of responsibility with context-specific applications in the areas of health, technology and environment. The book consists of two parts addressing two crucial aspects of risks and responsibility: holding agents responsible, i.e. ascribing and distributing responsibility for risks, and taking responsibility for risk. More specifically, the book discusses the values of fairness and efficacy in responsibility distributions and makes distinctions between backward-looking and forward-looking responsibility as well as individual and collective responsibility. Additionally, it analyses what it means to take responsibility for technological risks, conceptualising this kind of responsibility as a virtue, and furthermore, explores the notion of responsible risk communication and the implications for adult-child relationships.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental ethics, bioethics, public health ethics, engineering ethics, philosophy of risk and moral philosophy.


    Note on Permissions

    Introduction: Moral Responsibility and Risk


    Introduction to part 1: Moral Responsibility – the Philosophical Discussion

    1. Fairness and Efficacy in Responsibility Distributions

    2. Backward-looking and Forward-looking Responsibility

    3. Individual and Collective Responsibility


    Introduction to part 2: Responsibility as a Virtue

    4. Taking Responsibility for Technological Risk

    5. Responsible Risk Communication

    6. Children, Risk & Responsibility



    Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a senior lecturer in biomedical ethics at the Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics at Uppsala University in Sweden.

    "Jessica Nihlen-Fahlquist offers a clear, analytic discussion of moral problems that arise as we seek to hold people responsible for the risks (rather than the actual harm) they impose on us and others. Her discussion of fair risk distributions, as well as the distinction between backward and forward-looking responsibility, will be of significant interest to anyone working in the field. The discussion of individual and collective responsibility adds valuable perspectives to an important academic debate with major societal implications. I warmly recommend this book to scholars, graduate students and others interested in the philosophy of risk and responsibility." -- Martin Peterson, Professor of History and Ethics of Professional Engineering, Texas A&M University, USA