Keywords: precautionary principle, ethics, analysis, meaning, contextual, formalistic, paradox, Pascal', s Wager, Buridan', s Ass, risk assessment, risk management
An ethical analysis of the precautionary principle
The debate over the precautionary principle is intimately linked with values and worldviews. I examine how diverging conceptions of "the good world" affect the conceptualisation of the precautionary principle. Three complementary conceptualisations emerge; 1) a call for a change in attitude, 2) a prescription for formalistic action and 3) guidance for contextual action. I apply these conceptualisations to two extreme forms of implementations, a minimal and maximum change approach. I conclude by conducting risk evaluations of the second order. What are the risks of implementing the precautionary principle into risk evaluation?