Catastrophe: Risk and Response

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Oxford University Press, Nov 11, 2004 - Law - 336 pages
Catastrophic risks are much greater than is commonly appreciated. Collision with an asteroid, runaway global warming, voraciously replicating nanomachines, a pandemic of gene-spliced smallpox launched by bioterrorists, and a world-ending accident in a high-energy particle accelerator, are among the possible extinction events that are sufficiently likely to warrant careful study. How should we respond to events that, for a variety of psychological and cultural reasons, we find it hard to wrap our minds around? Posner argues that realism about science and scientists, innovative applications of cost-benefit analysis, a scientifically literate legal profession, unprecedented international cooperation, and a pragmatic attitude toward civil liberties are among the keys to coping effectively with the catastrophic risks.
 

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Catastrophe: risk and response

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This collection of 17 essays provides a detailed discussion of torture and whether it is ever morally justified. Including scholarly contributions from both Americans and Europeans, it is divided into ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
1 What are the catastrophic risks and how catastrophic are they?
21
2 Why so little is being done about the catastrophic risks
92
3 How to evaluate the catastrophic risks and the possible responses to them
139
4 How to reduce the catastrophic risks
199
Conclusion
245
Notes
267
Index
315
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About the author (2004)

Richard A. Posner is Judge of the U.S. Court Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books, including Overcoming Law a New York Times Book Review editors' choices for best book of 1995 and An Affair of State, one of their choices for Best Book of the Year in 1999.

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