Rights Against High-Level Risk Impositions


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In this article, I argue for a distinct and novel right-based account of risks and I call it the Sophisticated High-risk Thesis. I argue that there is a distinction between rights-infringing risk impositions and no-rights-infringing risk impositions. An action imposing a high risk of harm infringes rights, whereas an act imposing a low risk of harm does not. I also suggest three principles that govern the permissibility of highly risky actions. If a highly risky action meets the conditions specified by any of these three principles, it can be justified. These principles are the consent principle*, the prevent disaster principle* and the reciprocity principle**. I show that the Sophisticated High-risk Thesis is, in general, better than the alternative Risk Thesis defended by McCarthy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-778
Number of pages16
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Consent
  • Disaster prevention
  • Reciprocity
  • Right-based account of risk
  • Risk thesis


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