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Identified versus Statistical LivesAn Interdisciplinary Perspective$
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I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

Statistical Lives in Environmental Law

Statistical Lives in Environmental Law

(p.174) 12 Statistical Lives in Environmental Law
Identified versus Statistical Lives

Lisa Heinzerling

Oxford University Press

Environmental law focuses on coming probabilities, spread across human populations, rather than on past events, visited upon individuals, and thus it fixes attention on statistical rather than identified lives. The major US environmental laws, as written, offer exceedingly strong protections for human health. In reality, however, environmental law often does not live up to its protective promise. In defending decisions to allow people to die, the government often deploys arguments that, implicitly or explicitly, take advantage of the generally lower status of the statistical life. The effect is to move us away from solicitude and toward nonchalance in our relationship to the statistical life.

Keywords:   environmental law, statistical lives, identified lives, human health, protection

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