Published: Dec. 10, 2019

One of our former Ph.D. students was recently published a new book: The Ethics of Precaution: Uncertain Environmental Health Threats and Duties of Due Care (New York: Routledge 2019).  The blurb or abstract of the book follows:

Thousands of substances are manufactured in the United States to which the public is routinely exposed and for which toxicity data are limited or absent.  Some insist that uncertainty about the severity of potential harm justifies implementing precautionary regulations, while others claim that uncertainty justifies the absence of regulations until sufficient evidence confirms a strong probability of severe harm.

In this book, Levente Szentkirályi overcomes this impasse in his defense of precautionary environmental risk regulation by shifting the focus from how to manage uncertainty to what it is we owe each other morally.  He argues that actions that create uncertain threats wrongfully gamble with the welfare of those who are exposed and neglect the reciprocity that our equal moral standing demands. If we take the moral equality and rights of others seriously, we have a duty to exercise due care to strive to prevent putting them in possible harm’s way.Cover