Environmental health risks, moral emotions and responsible risk communication

Jessica Nihlen-Fahlquist, Sabine Roeser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Environmental health risks give rise to intense and emotional debates, which pose a great challenge for risk communication. This chapter focuses on how to 'communicate responsibly' about risk, an activity that requires ethical analysis. It provides a three-level framework of morally responsible risk communication, focusing on the procedure, the message and the effects of risk communication. The chapter addresses the role of emotions as a key to addressing and explicating moral values at these levels of risk communication. It discusses several cases related to environmental health risks to see what implications our framework has for risk communication. The chapter explores how moral emotions can contribute to ethically responsible communication about environmental health risks. It argues that emotions are a source of practical rationality and moral knowledge, and are hence crucial for responsible risk communication. Emotion scholars from philosophy and psychology have shown that emotions are a form of practical, moral rationality and that they have cognitive and affective aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Health Risks: Ethical Aspects
EditorsFriedo Zölzer, Gaston Meskens
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Electronic)9781351273367
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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