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After Fukushima: The precautionary principle revisited

1 , 2 , 3 , 4

Verbum et Ecclesia

AOSIS Publishing

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      Abstract

      Etienne de Villiers, more than other theologians, elaborates on basic elements of a Christian ethics of responsibility. He distinguishes between retrospective and prospective responsibility. The prospective aspect attracted awareness after the nuclear accident in the Fukushima reactors on 11 March 2011. The question on how to respond in an ethically responsible manner to catastrophic risks was put back on the agenda. The article takes up this question and discusses the answer given in the international debate by the introduction of the 'precautionary principle'. The principle is described with its background in the 'heuristics of fear', proposed by the philosopher Hans Jonas. Four criticisms are discussed in detail relating to the problems of scientific uncertainty, the burden of proof, the weight of damages and the perils of precaution. That leads to a reformulation of the precautionary principle as a concrete element within an ethics of responsibility.

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      The Selfish Gene

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        Our common future

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          Das Prinzip Verantwortung: Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study South Africa
            [2 ] Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
            [3 ] University of Heidelberg Germany
            [4 ] University of Pretoria South Africa
            Contributors
            Role: ND
            Journal
            vee
            Verbum et Ecclesia
            Verbum Eccles. (Online)
            AOSIS Publishing (Pretoria )
            1609-9982
            2012
            : 33
            : 2
            : 1-6
            S2074-77052012000200007
            10.4102/ve.v33i2.736

            http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Product
            Product Information: SciELO South Africa
            Categories
            Religion

            General religious studies

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