Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework (OUP, 2017) (Introduction)
Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework (OUP, 2017); ISBN: 9780199594054
14 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 20, 2017
This is the Introduction to Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Human life has always been shadowed by risks like disease and natural disaster, but modern life is distinctively risky. In the first instance, today, risk utterly permeates life. The sheer variety and scope of risks that attend industrialized and industrializing societies are unique to them. Our agrarian and geographically dispersed ancestors did not face the risks that accompany the use of automobiles and high-speed transit, the mass production of goods and widespread use of chemicals, vast construction and public works projects, or the countless other risks to which we are exposed in our everyday lives. In light of the fact that risk is ubiquitous in modern life, it should be no surprise that sociologists have called ours a “risk society,” focused on containing the risks that modernization itself has created. This sociological fact implies a normative one that, in conjunction with the pervasiveness of risk, explains why modern life is distinctively risky: the risks we now face are morally cognizable. For they are, in the main, subject to our control – indeed, they are typically our creation. The risks that define modern life are therefore our responsibility. As they are largely imposed by people on people, they call for moral assessment. This book addresses some of the central questions stimulated by our contemporary practices of imposing risk.
Keywords: Risk, Risk Imposition, Rights, Autonomy, Moral Significance, Contractualism, Philosophy, Law
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