Symposium Summary the Safety Profession’s Image of Humanity

  • C. West Churchman
Part of the General Motors Research Laboratories book series (RLSS)


In the 1780’s, Immanuel Kant was struggling to understand the basic principle underlying morality. First he stated it as a “categorical” imperative, meaning that it holds unconditionally: “you ought to do X,” and no if’s, and and’s, or but’s. The X you ought to do is to act so that you can will the principle of your action to hold universally, i. e., for everyone in every situation. In order to clarify the meaning of this categorical imperative, Kant gave us an alternative version: “so act as to treat humanity, either in yourself or in another, never as means only but as an end withal.”


Alternative Version Categorical Imperative Military Technology Societal Risk View Humanity 
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  1. 1.
    Lester B. Lave, “Economic Tools for Risk Reduction,” This Volume, p. 117.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid, p. 118.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid, p. 119.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Raphael G. Kasper, “Perceptions of Risk and Their Effects on Decision Making,” This Volume, p. 74.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chauncey Starr, discussion comments, This Volume, p. 4.Google Scholar
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    Marvin A. Schneiderman, “The Uncertain Risks We Run: Hazardous Materials,” This Volume, p. 22.Google Scholar
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    Ibid, pp. 37-38.Google Scholar
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    Melvin Kranzberg, “Prospects for Change,” This Volume, p. 328.Google Scholar
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    Michael Thompson, “Risk: The Three Faces of Everest,” This Volume, p. 278.Google Scholar
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    William C. Clark, “Witches, Floods and Wonder Drugs: Historical Prospectives on Risk Management,” This Volume, p. 288.Google Scholar
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    Paul Slovic, Baruch Fishoff and Sarah Lichtenstein, “Facts and Fears: Understanding Perceived Risk,” This Volume, p. 185.Google Scholar
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    Dorothy Nelkin and Michael Pollak, “Problems and Procedures in the Regulation of Technological Risk,” This Volume, p. 243.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. West Churchman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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