Philosophy Seminar Series: 18 January 2011, 2-3:45pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Jan Sprenger, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Tilburg University; Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong
Abstract: The role of scientists in environmental decision-making has recently been the subject of vivid discussion. It might be surmised that scientists have played their part in advising policy-makers as soon as they have assessed the amount of uncertainty, or established a particular hypothesis. Against this view, I argue that also in the genuine decision-makers process, scientists need to be included: environmental decision-making often has to follow a precautionary approach, and the exact decision-theoretic implications thereof are highly sensitive to the specific epistemic context we are in. Calibrating a decision rule with scope and nature of uncertainty in a decision problem is not possible without scientific understanding of the underlying environmental system. Therefore, scientists cannot and should not be restricted to purely epistemic tasks in environmental decision-making.