Thursday, 2017/05/04 - Friday, 2017/05/05
Precautionary principles (PPs) suggest advice for difficult choices. They require that we take action against possible harms even if we are not sure whether they will materialize. The basic idea seems intuitively plausible and has been applied in a wide range of contexts such as climate policies, medicine and environmental regulations. But more specific formulations of PPs have been criticized for various reasons, e.g. as being vacuous, incoherent, or based on irrational fears instead of sound science. So can PPs be justified at all? And if so, how?
The conference addresses two fundamental philosophical issues for the justification of a PP: What kind of reasons can we appeal to in arguing for a PP? Which method of justification can be used to justify a PP?
We will analyse, compare and assess philosophical approaches to the justification of PPs. The approaches draw on a broad range of theoretical backgrounds such as frameworks of decision-making, accounts of practical rationality, philosophy of science, and ethics of, e.g., rights, risk and justice. Research questions include:
The conference is generously supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research (OCCR), and the German Society for Analytical Philosophy (Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie, GAP).