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Radiation Protection and Moral Theory

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It seems likely that there is no threshold for the induction of cancer by ionising radiation. Hence even small radiation doses may result in a finite number of premature deaths if a large number of people are exposed. Various arguments are used to demonstrate that such deaths, if they occur, are acceptable; these arguments are shown to be flawed. Many of the arguments, and the ICRP's principle of justification, appear rooted in a utilitarian system of moral philosophy. Such a system is superficially attractive as it appears objective and rational; however, the objectivity may be an illusion masking the underlying aims of the interested parties.

Keywords: cost-benefit analysis; emotivism; justification; radioactive discharges; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 1995

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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