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Policy decisions on shale gas development ('fracking'): the insufficiency of science and necessity of moral thought

Evensen, Darrick T. N. 2015. Policy decisions on shale gas development ('fracking'): the insufficiency of science and necessity of moral thought. Environmental Values 24 (4) , pp. 511-534. 10.3197/096327115X14345368709989

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A constant refrain in both public discourse and academic research on shale gas development has been the necessity for 'sound science' to govern policy decisions. Rare, however, is the recommendation that effective policy on this topic also include 'sound moral thought'. I argue that: (1) philosophy (particularly moral thought and ethical reasoning) and science must work in tandem for making good policy decisions related to shale gas development, and (2) this realisation is essential for policy-makers, journalists, researchers, educators and the public. By examining the range of normative claims offered within academic and public discourse, the variation in claims across contexts and the degree to which the normative arguments are well-supported, I illustrate the important role increased attention to moral thought could play in forwarding policy construction on shale gas development. Finally, I offer recommendations for how policy-makers, journalists, researchers and educators can more actively acknowledge the importance of both science and moral thought in policy-making related to shale gas development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Publisher: White Horse Press
ISSN: 0963-2719
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2016
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 16:00

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