Obligations of Due Care Under Uncertainty
DOI link for Obligations of Due Care Under Uncertainty
Obligations of Due Care Under Uncertainty book
In detailing how industry can satisfy its moral duty to implement reasonable precautionary measures to try to protect the public from potential harm, Chapter 4 explores why it is necessary for a feasible standard of due care to be sensitive to context, and it explains how degrees of uncertainty, the extent to which we can eliminate uncertainty, and the alternatives available to emitters all shape what due care consists of and how the obligation can be discharged. Accordingly, this chapter introduces a number of morally relevant, context-dependent factors that can either amplify or diminish one’s duty to exercise precaution (such as the availability of feasible substitutes, the involvement of vulnerable populations, or the volume of production and emission of a substance in question). Returning to the various policy-oriented and normative objections initially introduced in Chapter 1 against the plausibility of the precautionary principle—including claims that precautionary regulatory decisions tolerate severe restrictions on mere speculative and subjective risks; that precautionary policies are vacuous, incoherent, self-defeating, and paralyze all policy making; and that precautionary standards fail to balance the benefits with the costs of regulation—Chapter 4 closes by arguing that the proposed rights-based account of precaution can withstand these diverse charges.