Varieties of Risk

AHRC sponsored research project

Research Phases

Our research project will be structured along three different phases that involve diverse methods, covering not only the theoretical and formal methods traditionally used in philosophy, but also experimental methods, such as online surveys to investigate human judgment about risk. In doing so, we draw on our own experience using experimental methods, on continuing collaboration with a statistician and on existing expertise at the Behavioural Science Centre (Stirling).

Phase 1: Theoretical research

  • Develop the theoretical foundations of risk pluralism and set the normative discussion about risk pluralism into a wider philosophical debate about philosophical methodology and epistemic rationality.
  • Provide a defence of risk pluralism by investigating other forms of pluralism (truth, value, norms, logic) and identify challenges from this literature that may apply to risk pluralism.
  • Identify the different formal properties of the different notions of risk by drawing upon resources such as probability theory, ranking theory, conditional and non-monotonic logic.
  • Recast and advance existing debates in psychology about risk and rationality by drawing on the pluralist framework.

Phase 2: Experimental phase

  • Drawing on phase 1 we will have identified formal features of the different notions of risk and identified aspects that may influence a subject’s risk judgments. We will test to what extent these features can influence risk judgments.
  • Follow up on experiments conducted in Ebert, Smith and Durbach (2018, 2019) about how statistical information does affect risk judgments and how higher-order uncertainty has a distinctive effect on risk judgments.
  • In collaboration with outdoor educators and professionals, we will develop a discrete choice experiment to assess how risk reports influence decision-making.

Phase 3: Impact, outreach and knowledge exchange

  • Engaging with legal scholars in how risk pluralism can rationalise and influence current legal practise (workshop).
  • Engage with outdoor educators (workshop) on how risk pluralism can help inform better outdoor education and practice.
  • Investigate how risk pluralism can reshape more academic research in psychology, legal theory, outdoor education, risk management.