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The Ethics of ProtocellsMoral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory$
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Mark A. Bedau and Emily C. Parke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012621

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.001.0001

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The Precautionary Principle and Its Critics

The Precautionary Principle and Its Critics

Chapter:
(p.69) 5 The Precautionary Principle and Its Critics
Source:
The Ethics of Protocells
Author(s):

Emily C. Parke

Mark A. Bedau

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.003.0005

This chapter outlines various arguments for and against the precautionary principle. It specifically explains the nature and proper use of the precautionary principle. This chapter suggests that some of the criticisms can be dismissed because they are based on misunderstanding or otherwise misdirected information. Some other worries can be classified as legitimate but directed at misuses of the principle rather than the principle itself. It also shows that the criticisms based on self-contradiction, demanding the unknowable, forgone benefits, or stifled innovation are serious worries only for those versions of the principle with severe directives for action or broad or vague triggering conditions.

Keywords:   precautionary principle, criticisms, self-contradiction, forgone benefits, stifled innovation, unknowable

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