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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

4 - Good Energy: Philosophical Perspectives

from Part I - Multidisciplinary Perspectives


The crafting of good energy policy raises philosophical questions with respect to the deliberative processes through which policy should be formed, and with respect to the specific content of the policies arrived at. This short essay begins with a brief account of the conceptual difficulties that arise when we think about just energy policy and the benefits and harms our energy policies bring to future generations. It moves on to focus more narrowly on questions of good deliberative process. More specifically, the essay addresses a set of issues concerning whether there is a defensible version of the ‘precautionary principle’, and the proper contributions to policy formation of technically trained experts versus laypersons. These issues are explored via illustrative examples relating to climate change, to nuclear power and to disputes over fracking.