Managing Risks of the Unknown

  • Sven Ove HanssonEmail author
Part of the Risk, Governance and Society book series (RISKGOSO, volume 19)


Traditional probabilistic risk assessment needs to be supplemented in at least two ways: We need ways to analyze risks for which no meaningful probability assessments are available, and we need to take into account ethical issues such as voluntariness, intentions, consent and equity. In this contribution three tools for such an extended risk assessment are presented with a particular emphasis on how they can be used to deal with risks that have large components of natural causes: Possibility analysis deals with “mere possibility arguments”, i.e. risks that we know very little about. The three-party model is a framework for analyzing the ethics of risk. Hypothetical retrospection is a method for overall assessment of risks in non-numerical terms. These tools are all constructed to introduce important considerations into risk assessment that tend to be excluded or neglected in the traditional approaches. This widening of the scope of risk assessment does not make the assessment easier, but it can contribute to making its output more useful and more responsive to social needs.


Counter-affected Ethical risk assessment Great uncertainty Hypothetical retrospection Mere possibility arguments Natural risks Possibility analysis Probabilistic risk assessment Stakeholder Symmetry tests Three-party model 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)StockholmSweden

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