Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society

1st Edition

Edited by Sander van der Linden, Ragnar E. Löfstedt


104 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367235437
pub: 2019-06-27
Available for pre-order

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This edited volume looks at whether it is possible to be more transparent about uncertainty in scientific evidence without undermining public understanding and trust.

With contributions from leading experts in the field, this book explores the communication of risk and decision-making in an increasingly post-truth world. Drawing on case studies from climate change to genetic testing, the authors argue for better quality evidence synthesis to cut through the noise and highlight the need for more structured public dialogue. For uncertainty in scientific evidence to be communicated effectively, they conclude that trustworthiness is vital: the data and methods underlying statistics must be transparent, valid, and sound, and the numbers need to demonstrate practical utility and add social value to people’s lives.

Presenting a conceptual framework to help navigate the reader through the key social and scientific challenges of a post-truth era, this book will be of great relevance to students, scholars and policy makers with an interest in risk analysis and communication.


"The question of what constitutes acceptable risk has always involved a judgement about both science and politics. This issue is brought into sharp focus in this volume about the changing relationship between science, novel risks and society. The contributors, drawn from academia and the world of government policy, show how this relationship is of critical importance for the ways we now think about trust in institutions and risk governance. The important message of the book is that while we have not yet reached a ‘post-truth’ world in decision-making about risks, we need to guard against such a situation happening in the future. A timely and welcome contribution to a critical contemporary societal debate." -- Nick Pidgeon MBE, Professor and Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University, UK

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Contributors

Foreword by Baruch Fischhoff

Introduction: Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society

Sander van der Linden and Ragnar Lofstëdt

1.Trust in Numbers

David J. Spiegelhalter

2. Science and Policy in a Post-Truth World

Emma Woods

3. Trustworthiness, Quality and Value: The Regulation of Official Statistics in a Post-Truth Age

Ed Humpherson

4. Risk and Uncertainty in the Context of Government Decision-Making

Ian L. Boyd

5. The Handling of Uncertainty: A Risk Manager’s Perspective

Geoffrey Podger


About the Editors

Sander van der Linden is Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he directs the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory.

Ragnar E. Löfstedt is Professor of Risk Management at King’s College London, UK, and Director of King’s Centre for Risk Management.

About the Series

Earthscan Risk in Society

The Earthscan Risk in Society series publishes high quality research, teaching, practical and policy- related books on topics that address risk analysis, risk assessment, risk perception, risk management, uncertainty and decision-making in society. Professor Ragnar Lofstedt is the series editor and the series has published highly influential authors in the field of risk, including Ortwin Renn, Baruch Fischhoff and Paul Slovic.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Insurance / Risk Assessment & Management
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Communication Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Research & Methodology