The purpose of the article is threefold. The first objective is to determine the general normative context where the problem of precaution arises. The second objective is to establish main factors turning it into a contemporary problem of the utmost importance. The third objective is to analyze alternative articulations of the precautionary normative logic and to assess their potential for implementation in practice. A moral agent faces the problem of precaution trying to fulfill basic moral requirement to prevent harm. He/she is anxious not to be accused of carelessness and negligence and thereby makes efforts to find some operational rules of proper precaution. In the recent condition of civilization the growing importance of the precautionary problem is connected with an increasing capacity of contemporary science and technology to cause a huge amount of harm that can not be compensated. The compensation is impossible in the case of rapidly developing global catastrophes. Beyond the catastrophic perspective irreversible harm is pervasive in the sphere where ongoing scientific, economic, and military activities have negative impact on natural environment and future generations. The precautionary normative logic is articulated in many different formulae of the precautionary principle. To implement it in practice, decision-makers should draw clear boundaries between the scope of precaution and the scope of cost-benefit analysis.

About the authors

A V Prokofiev

Institute of Philosophy of RAS

Author for correspondence.

доктор философских наук, ведущий научный сотрудник сектора этики Института философии РАН

12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow, 109240, Russian Federation


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