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Precautionary Principle, Pluralism and Deliberation: Science and Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-78630-100-0
298 pages
December 2016, Wiley-ISTE
Precautionary Principle, Pluralism and Deliberation: Science and Ethics (1786301008) cover image


This volume tackles the burden of judgment and the challenges of ethical disagreements, organizes the cohabitation of scientific and ethical argumentations in such a way they find their appropriate place in the political decision. It imagines several forms of agreements and open ways of conflicts resolution very different compared with ones of the majority of political philosophers and political scientists that are macro-social and general. It offers an original contribution to a scrutinized interpretation of the precautionary principle, as structuring the decision in interdisciplinary contexts, to make sure to arrive this time to the “Best of the Worlds”.  

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Table of Contents

Preface  ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

Part 1. Pluralism between Ethics and Politics in the Context of Prevention 1

Introduction to Part 1 3

Chapter 1. Burdens of Judgment and Ethical Pluralism of Values  11

1.1. The “burdens of judgment” at the root of the “fact of reasonable pluralism” 13

1.2. Burdens of judgment: a critique 17

1.2.1. Burdens of judgment: a starting point, not an obstacle  17

1.2.2. The variable geometry of pluralisms  22

1.3. Ethical pluralism of values, from relativism to monism  26

1.4. Relativisms and commitments  32

1.4.1. Three types of relativism 32

1.4.2. Commitments in response to values 33

1.5. Opposing monism: conditionality, incompatibility and incommensurability of values 36

1.6. Conclusion: decompartmentalizing conflicts of values 38

Chapter 2. Ethical Pluralism of Ethical Theories at the Heart of Evaluation  43

2.1. Ordinary morality, anti-theory and skepticism 44

2.2. What is an ethical theory? 47

2.3. Main ethical theories 50

2.4. Pluralism in practical reasoning 55

2.4.1. Formal practical reasoning  56

2.4.2. Substantial practical reasoning  58

2.5. Interactions between normative factors and foundational normative theories  60

2.6. Conclusion: conflicts and deliberation in the context of ethical theories 64

Chapter 3. Deliberative Democracy Put to the Test of Ethical Pluralism 71

3.1. Participatory exposure 72

3.2. Rawls and Habermas: opposing views in support of deliberation 74

3.2.1. Rawls: restricted ethics  75

3.2.2. Habermas: reliance on undefined arguments  77

3.3. Deliberating in a democracy 80

3.4. Desperately seeking arguments…  85

3.5. Conclusion: pluralism of moral and political philosophers  88

Conclusion to Part 1: Mapping the “Should-be” of the Public Sphere  95

Part 2. Ethical and Political Pluralism in a Context of Precaution 105

Introduction to Part 2 107

Chapter 4. Deciding on, and in, Uncertainty Using the Precautionary Meta-principle 113

4.1. Careless criticisms of the precautionary principle 116

4.2. Precautionary principle: components and trigger factors  122

4.3. To act, or not to act  126

4.4. Clashing scenarios and “grammars” of the future  129

4.5. Typology of political decisions in the context of uncertainty 132

4.6. Conclusion: the deliberative as genre for uncertain futures  135

Chapter 5. Between Sciences and Ethics: A New Quarrel of Faculties? 143

5.1. Scientists between attachment and independence  144

5.2. Politics of nature  152

5.3. The prominent role of values in paradigm changes 160

5.4. Relationships between scientific facts, epistemic values and ethical values  162

5.5. Conclusion: a Republic of Letters dealing with facts and values  165

Chapter 6. Co-argumentation in a Context of Disciplinary Pluralism 173

6.1. Epistemic pluralism and competitive positions 177

6.2. Tensions and cooperation due to pluralism internal and external to disciplines  180

6.3. Types of argumentation and dialogue  184

6.4. Co-dependence between ethical argumentation and scientific investigation 191

6.5. Confrontation of hypotheses 194

6.6. Conclusion: structuring of inter- and intra-disciplinary pluralisms thanks to the precautionary meta-principle 200

Conclusion 207

Bibliography 225

Index 245

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