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Safeguarding the Far Future: A Broad Legal Intervention for Existential Risk Mitigation in Response to the LHC Controversy

Arvidsson, C. (2023). Safeguarding the Far Future: A Broad Legal Intervention for Existential Risk Mitigation in Response to the LHC Controversy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Legal interventions can assist in mitigating existential risks (‘x-risks’) traceable to anthropogenic processes, and examining events from the past can plausibly assist in the configuration of such interventions. To that effect, this thesis considers how a controversy from the past involving particle accelerators and the alleged risk of humanity’s premature extinction (the ‘LHC Controversy’) can be used as a drafting guide for the law’s response to certain risks within the x-risk landscape.

The research aim is to examine how the LHC Controversy can inspire the design of a broad legal intervention for x-risk mitigation. Exploring what can be learnt from the LHC Controversy in this way enables the thesis to contribute to the field of x-risk mitigation. Addressing the main aim involves an investigation of the x-risk landscape and different legal and non-legal aspects characterising the LHC Controversy.

It is argued that the LHC Controversy reveals the value of a broad legal intervention which targets the reliability of scientific work assessing a relevant x-risk. The legal mechanism advanced in this thesis (‘the LHC-inspired intervention’) is disconnected from probabilities of risk and the adjudication of competing scientific theories.

The LHC-inspired intervention entails evaluation of interconnected deficiency factors which can give credence to a concern that the underlying x-risk assessment is not, at present, as reliable as it should be. Broadly speaking, these deficiency factors require analysis of (i) the humans and organisations who consider the relevant x-risk and (ii) the possibility that they have based their conclusion(s) on flawed information or an incomplete state of knowledge or understanding.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law
Departments: The City Law School
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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