Risk Regulation at Risk: Restoring a Pragmatic Approach

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Regulation to protect against the risk of harm to the public health and the environment has come under increasing criticism in recent years, particularly from those who employ utilitarian philosophy and support reliance on cost-benefit analysis as a decisionmaking criterion. To date, the defenders of risk regulation have lacked a unifying theory. This book proposes the American tradition of philosophical pragmatism to fill that vacuum. The authors contend that pragmatism offers a better method for conceiving of and implementing risk regulation than the economic paradigm favored by many of its critics. The authors reject the contention that risk regulation, as implemented to date, is excessive and irrational. The pragmatic perspective they employ nevertheless leads them to propose a series of potentially useful reforms to risk regulation.

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