Ethical Aspects of Risk, 14-16 June 2006 Philosophy Department, Delft University of Technology REGISTRATION IS STILL POSSIBLE!

Keynote speakers:

Ruth Chadwick University of Lancaster

Carl Cranor University of California Riverside

Douglas MacLean University of North Carolina

Paul Slovic Decision Research, Oregon

Technology has advanced human well being in a myriad of respects, such as energy, communication and abilities to travel. Still, every technology also has negative side-effects, such as risks from accidents and pollution. A standard way to judge the acceptability of a specific technology is cost-benefit analysis. However, next to the balance between the benefits and risks of a technology the following considerations seem to be important: the distribution of costs and benefits, whether a risk is voluntarily taken, whether there are available alternatives etc. How to judge whether a risk is acceptable is a pressing ethical question that deserves thorough investigation. There is a vast amount of sociological and psychological research on acceptable risks, but surprisingly, there is only very little research from moral philosophy on risks. This conference aims to fill this gap by bringing together moral philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and engineers to reflect on the ethical issues concerning 'acceptable risk'.

The following questions will be the focus of the conference:

  • What are morally legitimate considerations in judging the acceptability of risks? Is cost-benefit analysis the best way or do we need additional considerations?
  • What role should emotions play in judging the acceptability of risks? Are they irrational and distorting or are they a necessary precondition for practically rational judgments?
  • What role should the public play in judging the acceptability of risks (e.g. informed consent procedures analogous to medical ethics)?
  • Is the precautionary principle a fruitful tool in dealing with risks?

Visit the conference website at

For inquiries, contact the organization committee through


Sabine Roeser and Lotte Asveld;

conference management: Henneke Piekhaar ----- 2628 BX Delft The Netherlands T: +31-15-2788779 F: +31-15-2786233 E: