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Author Information: Adam Briggle, University of North Texas,; Steve Fuller, University of Warwick, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology,; J. Britt Holbrook, University of North Texas,; Veronika Lipinska, Lund University, Sweden, SERRC,

Briggle, Adam, Steve Fuller, Britt Holbrook and Veronika Lipinska. 2013. “Exchange on Holbrook and Briggle’s ‘Knowing and Acting’”. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (5) 38-44.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to: Holbrook, J. Britt and Adam Briggle. 2013. “Knowing and acting: The precautionary and proactionary principles in relation to policy making.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (5): 15-37.

Editor’s Note: The following e-mail exchange on Holbrook and Briggle’s “Knowing and Acting” (published on the SERRC as a pre-print on 16 April 2013) took place from 20 to 22 March 2013. The participants are J. Britt Holbrook, Adam Briggle, Veronika Lipinska and Steve Fuller.

Lipinska (20 March): You make a strong case for similarities between the proactionary and precautionary principle with regards to deployment of risk assessment strategies and avoidance of recklessness and try to give the precautionary principle a proactionary spin. In a way, what you are saying is that unless precautionaries go completely ballistic and push every proposal to undergo extensive and time consuming risk evaluations, the precautionary principle can well be proactionary in practice. However, I think it strongly undermines the precautionary principle as a principle and reshapes it into merely a tool for inquiry. It is one thing to say that we should evaluate risks before we proceed with action (which is what both proactionaries and precautionaries agree on and which I call “risk assessment”) and quite another thing to engage in active decision making, which should be understood as risk management. Continue Reading…