An Overview of the Impact of Perceptibility on the Moral Relevance of Detectable Effects: Pointing Towards a Higher Moral Ground in Decision-Making.

By  Lucio Munoz:  Independent QLC researcher/consultant email:


The impacts that natural and human actions may have on individuals and/or groups are a central issue in scientific research. This is so because the nature and type of the impacts are directly related to the nature and type of policies necessary to mitigate them or enhance them.   The morality on which policy formulation, evaluation, and planning is normally based is supported by measurable detectable/indetectable effects considerations only, perceptibility/ imperceptibility considerations of the effect are left out.    People’s perceptions or impressions of what their senses tell them have moral relevance.  If they see sick people or degraded landscapes or if they smell polluted water or contaminated air they will insist that something be done to address the situation regardless of whether we can measure the effects or not.

Therefore, the morality of measurable detectable/indetectable effects can be altered even significantly if effect perceptibility considerations are added to the decision-making process.  In other words, the morality of detectable/ indetectable effects when it includes both measurability and perceptibility considerations has a higher moral weight than if it is based on measurable detectable/indetectable effects considerations only, which makes the moral relevance of effect perceptibility/ imperceptibility an important consideration that is currently being missed in decision making and planning.    And hence policy formulation, evaluation, and planning based on detectable/indetectable effect morality should include both the measurable/ immeasurable effects considerations and the perceptible/imperceptible effect considerations at the same time to reach a higher moral ground.

Not much is written to my knowledge about adding perceptibility to measurable effect considerations in detectable effect/indetectable effect based planning; and this is an attempt to share ideas on how the morality of detectable/indetectable effects  can be altered when that is the case.  A general goal of this paper is highlight using qualitative comparative tools how effect perceptibility can alter the morality weight attached to specific detectable effects.

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