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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Varieties of Risk (Forthcoming/Available Online)
Author(s): Ebert, Philip A
Smith, Martin
Durbach, Ian
Issue Date: 9-May-2019
Citation: Ebert PA, Smith M & Durbach I (2019) Varieties of Risk (Forthcoming/Available Online). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Abstract: The notion of risk plays a central role in economics, finance, health, psychology, law and elsewhere, and is prevalent in managing challenges and resources in day-to-day life. In recent work, Duncan Pritchard (2015, 2016) has argued against the orthodox probabilistic conception of risk on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how probable it is, and in favour of a modal conception on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how modally close it is. In this article, we use Pritchard’s discussion as a springboard for a more wide-ranging discussion of the notion of risk. We introduce three different conceptions of risk: the standard probabilistic conception, Pritchard’s modal conception, and a normalcy conception that is new (though it has some precursors in the psychological literature on risk perception). Ultimately, we argue that the modal conception is ill-suited to the roles that a notion of risk is required to play and explore the prospects for a form of pluralism about risk, embracing both the probabilistic and the normalcy conceptions.
DOI Link: 10.1111/phpr.12598
Rights: © 2019 The Authors. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research published by Wiley Periodicals, LLC. on behalf of Philosophy and Phenonmenological Research, LLC This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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