chapter  2
18 Pages

TOWARD A NON-CONSEQUENTIALIST APPROACH TO ACCEPTABLE RISKS

ByCARL F. CRANOR

In making social decisions about what risks should be reduced, which removed and which can be left to the judgment of individuals, legislators and administrators of our institutions must make comparative risk judgments – judgments of which risks are more and which are less important. One approach to these issues explicitly or implicitly appears to assume that decision-makers need only examine the magnitude and probability of risks in order to properly compare them. As Gillette and Krier put it:

They may disagree about details, such as whether one looks at total expected deaths, deaths per person or per hour of exposure, or loss of life expectancy due to exposure, but generally speaking ‘experts appear to see riskiness as synonymous with expected annual mortality and morbidity.’ . . . When experts write about relative risk, they implicitly or explicitly use body counts as the relevant measure. And, in a way seemingly consistent with the logic of their method, they insist that a death is a death is a death...