The precautionary principle

University dissertation from Stockholm : Infrastruktur

Author: Per Sandin; Kth.; [2002]

Keywords: precautionary principle; precaution; risk;

Abstract: This thesis aims at providing reasonable explications of theprecautionary principle and the concept of precaution, todefend the precautionary principle against some commoncriticisms, and to give an indication of how the precautionaryprinciple might be operationalised.In Essay I, the concept of precaution is analysed in termsof precautionary actions. Distinctions between precaution andtwo related concepts, prevention and pessimism, are discussed.A definition involving three necessary and jointly sufficientconditions is proposed as a reasonable explication of aprecautionary action.Essay II attempts to provide an analytical apparatus whichmay be used for finding an authoritative formulation of theprecautionary principle. Several formulations of theprecautionary principle are examined. It is argued that theprecautionary principle can be recast into a four-dimensionalif-clause, and that this format can be used in negotiationsconcerning the precautionary principle.In Essay III, the precautionary principle is defendedagainst five common charges, namely that it is ill-defined,absolutist, and a value judgement, increases risk-taking, andmarginalises science.In Essay IV, a simple formalised model is introduced, inwhich the precautionary principle is interpreted in terms ofdefault values of chemicals regulation.Key words:Precautionary principle, precaution, risk