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Sven Ove Hansson

Sven Ove Hansson (born 1951) is a professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy and History of Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He is an author and skeptic, with a special interest in environmental risk assessment, as well as in decision theory and belief dynamics.[1][2]



Hansson obtained a bachelor's degree in medical science in 1972, and then worked for a Swedish trade union, followed by a job with the Swedish Social Democrats. He received a PhD in theoretical philosophy at Uppsala University in 1991, following which he was from 1993 to 1999 forskarassistent (the Swedish equivalent of an associate professor) at Uppsala. He received a second PhD in practical philosophy at the University of Lund in 1999, and since 2000 he has been a professor at KTH; he became department head in 2005.[3]

The Swedish Government appointed Hansson to the Products Control Board (1976–1982; the predecessor of the National Chemicals Inspectorate), the National Board for Spent Nuclear Fuel (1981–1992) and the Natural Science Foundation (1989–1992). He continues to write on radiation exposure risk assessment.[4] He was also a member of two temporary Commissions on environmental policies appointed by the Swedish Government, expert advisor to a 1999–2000 Swedish government committee the kemikaliekommittén, and a member of the board of the MISTRA project New Strategy for the risk management of chemical substances. Hansson's contributions on theories of risk assessment have been cited as recently as 2012.[5]

Since December 2000, Hansson has been a member of forskningsberedningen, the Swedish government’s advisory board of researchers.

Hansson has contributed to the development of belief revision theory, in particular, analysis of application of the AGM postulates.[1][6] His work is also cited in discussions of ethics in institutional decision-making.[7][8] Google Scholar lists 6,244 citations of his work and gives his h-index as 42 and i10-index as 133.[9] As of 2014 he continues to publish on ethics, logic and public health in major journals.[9]

Since September 1999 he has been the Editor-in-Chief of Theoria, the only international, peer-reviewed, philosophy journal published in Sweden. He was the founding chairperson of the Swedish Skeptics (Vetenskap och Folkbildning),[10] and is still a board member and editor of the organisation’s journal Folkvett.

Hansson has criticized anthroposophy as a pseudo science.[11][12][13]


He has published numerous articles and books in Swedish and in English.

Books in English

  • Decision Theory: A Brief Introduction (PDF). Stockholm:  
  • Setting the Limit. Occupational Health Standards and the Limits of Science. New York:  
  • A Textbook of Belief Dynamics, Theory Change and Database Updating. Dordrecht:  
  • The Structure of Values and Norms. Cambridge, UK:  
  • The Ethics of Risk: Ethical Analysis in an Uncertain World. New York:  

Selected journal articles in English

  • "New operators for theory change".  
  • "Dimensions of risk".  
  • "Belief contraction without recovery".  
  • "Reversing the Levi identity".  
  • Fuhrmann, André; — (January 1994). "A survey of multiple contractions" (PDF).  
  • "Kernel contraction" (PDF).  
  • "Semi-revision".  
  • "A survey of non-prioritized belief revision".  
  • Sandin, Per; Peterson, Martin; —; Rudén, Christina; et al. (2002). "Five charges against the precautionary principle". Journal of Risk Research 5 (4): 287–99.  


  1. ^ a b Gärdenfors, Peter (2011). "Notes on the history of ideas behind AGM".  
  2. ^ Yamin, Tughral (2012). "An appreciation of the Pakistani Military thought process". Strategic Studies 32 (2-3). Retrieved 2014-05-09 – via  
  3. ^ "CV for Sven Ove Hansson". Stockholm:  
  4. ^ Hansson, Sven Ove (2011). "Radiation protection—Sorting out the arguments". Philosophy & Technology 24 (3): 363–8.  
  5. ^ Rossi, John (2012). "The prospects for objectivity in risk assessment".  
  6. ^ Rott, Hans; Pagnucco, Maurice (1999). "Severe withdrawal (and recovery)".  
  7. ^ Fischer, Robert (30 December 2008). "European governance still technocratic? New modes of governance for food safety regulation in the European Union". European Integration Online Papers 12: 1–26. Retrieved 2014-05-09 – via  
  8. ^ Arcuri, Alessandra (2007). "Reconstructing precaution, deconstructing misconceptions".  
  9. ^ a b "Sven Ove Hansson".  
  10. ^ Jerkert, Jesper; Hansson, Sven Ove (July–August 2006). "A Swedish professorship in parapsychology".  
  11. ^ Hansson, Sven Ove (1991). "Is anthroposophy science?". Conceptus XXV (64). pp. 37–49. Archived from the original on 2002-04-20 – via 
  12. ^ Hansson, Sven Ove (1 June 2005). "The racial teachings of Rudolf Steiner". Skeptic Report.  According to the original publication of the article in Swedish (Folkvett nr 3/2004.), it was written in response to criticism of the Swedish branch of the CSICOP for its publication the previous year of a critical anthology on anthroposophy as being repeatedly unreliable.
  13. ^ Dugan, Dan; Daar, Judy (1994). "'"Are Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf schools 'non-sectarian?.  

External links

  • Official website
  • List of Hansson's publications in English
  • Prof Sven Ove Hansson (Brief biography at NanoBio-RAISE) at the Wayback Machine
  • , University of Delft, NL, April 2002 (program)Research in Ethics and Engineering Conference(Brief biography) in at the Wayback Machine
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