Flood hazard science, policy, and values: A pragmatist stance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The New Orleans hurricane disaster of August 2005 amply illustrates the long-standing failure of relating science to effective policies for reducing flood losses. Particularly flawed is the myth that science constitutes a repository of authoritative knowledge that will objectively serve as the basis for effective policies. This flaw derives from presumptions about the nature of science that can be corrected by employing a pragmatic perspective. Science is the continuing search for truth by a dedicated community of practitioners. Its intrinsic fallibilism means it cannot authoritatively justify a particular action. Instead, its continuous activity provides a reliable guide to action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalTechnology in Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Flood science
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • New Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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