Science Policy, Ethics, and Economic Methodology

Some Problems of Technology Assessment and Environmental-Impact Analysis

  • K. S. Shrader-Frechette

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction

  3. General Methodological Problems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 65-65
    2. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 67-105
    3. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 106-118
  4. Particular Methodological Problems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 121-151
    3. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 152-209
    4. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 210-258
  5. Steps Towards Solutions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 259-259
    2. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 261-285
    3. K. S. Shrader-Frechette
      Pages 286-315
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 316-321

About this book


If indeed scientists and technologists, especially economists, set much of the agenda by which the future is played out, and I think they do, then the student of scientific methodology and public ethics has at least three options. He can embrace certain scientific methods and the value they hold for social decisionmaking, much as Milton Friedman has accepted neoclassical econom­ ics. Or, he can condemn them, regardless of their value, much as Stuart Hampshire has rejected risk-cost-benefit analysis (RCBA). Finally, he can critically assess these scientific methods and attempt to provide solutions to the problems he has uncovered. As a philosopher of science seeking the middle path between uncritical acceptance and extremist rejection of the economic methods used in policy analysis, I have tried to avoid the charge of being "anti science". Fred Hapgood, in response to my presentation at a recent Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science, said that my arguments "felt like" a call for rejection of the methods of risk-cost-benefit analysis. Not so, as Chapter Two of this volume should make eminently clear. All my criticisms are construc­ tive ones, and the flaws in economic methodology which I address are uncovered for the purpose of suggesting means of making good techniques better. Likewise, although I criticize the economic methodology by which many technology assessments (TA's) and environmental-impact analyses (EIA's) have been used to justify public projects, it is wrong to conclude that I am anti-technology.


Environmental Policy objectivity philosophy of science relativism science and technology

Authors and affiliations

  • K. S. Shrader-Frechette
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of FloridaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1985
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-1845-7
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-6449-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site