Epistemiological and Methodological aspects of Individual Risk Assessment

Bernard Cadet


In societies in which technological development has reached an advanced stage, risk assessment of all kinds is an individual and social necessity. Individual risk assessment strategies employed by "ordinary" people have certain specific epistemological and methodological characteristics that are well worth studying in order to understand how such people behave. In this paper, the author argues that risk assessment is reached by means of a complex and subjective "construct"; he goes on to analyse two distinct approaches - factorial and procedural - to the assessment process. The difficulties that arise as regards assessment are then analysed in terms of data processing. The author indicates certain relationship patterns between objective ratings (scores) and their subjective counterpart (assessment), and highlights certain - at times surprising - rules of "mental arithmetic".


risks;assessment;subjective ratings;"construct";"mental arithmetic"


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