Sven Ove Hansson

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Sven Ove Hansson (born 1951) is a Swedish philosopher. He 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 scientific skeptic, with a special interest in environmental risk assessment, as well as in decision theory and belief revision.[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 17,417 citations of his work and gives his h-index as 68 and i10-index as 271 .[9] As of 2022 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[edit]

  • Decision Theory: A Brief Introduction (PDF). Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). 2005 [1994].
  • Setting the Limit. Occupational Health Standards and the Limits of Science. New York: Oxford University Press. 1998. ISBN 9780195121605. OCLC 37533943.
  • A Textbook of Belief Dynamics, Theory Change and Database Updating. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1999. ISBN 9780792353249. OCLC 39856021.
  • The Structure of Values and Norms. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2001. ISBN 9780521792042. OCLC 44841554.
  • The Ethics of Risk: Ethical Analysis in an Uncertain World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2013. ISBN 9781137333650. OCLC 842208555.

Selected journal articles in English[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gärdenfors, Peter (2011). "Notes on the history of ideas behind AGM". Journal of Philosophical Logic. 40 (2): 115–120. doi:10.1007/s10992-011-9174-6. S2CID 27170256.
  2. ^ Yamin, Tughral (2012). "An appreciation of the Pakistani Military thought process". Strategic Studies. 32 (2–3). Retrieved 2014-05-09 – via ProQuest.
  3. ^ "CV for Sven Ove Hansson". Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Archived from the original on 2013-09-17.
  4. ^ Hansson, Sven Ove (2011). "Radiation protection—Sorting out the arguments". Philosophy & Technology. 24 (3): 363–368. doi:10.1007/s13347-011-0036-5. S2CID 144907833.
  5. ^ Rossi, John (2012). "The prospects for objectivity in risk assessment". Journal of Value Inquiry. 46 (2): 237–253. doi:10.1007/s10790-012-9338-9. S2CID 144300032.
  6. ^ Rott, Hans; Pagnucco, Maurice (1999). "Severe withdrawal (and recovery)". Journal of Philosophical Logic. 28 (5): 501–547. CiteSeerX doi:10.1023/A:1004344003217. S2CID 15272664.
  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 ProQuest.
  8. ^ Arcuri, Alessandra (2007). "Reconstructing precaution, deconstructing misconceptions". Ethics & International Affairs. 21 (3): 275, 359–379. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7093.2007.00104.x.
  9. ^ a b "Sven Ove Hansson". Google Scholar. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  10. ^ Jerkert, Jesper; Hansson, Sven Ove (July–August 2006). "A Swedish professorship in parapsychology". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 30, no. 4. p. 8. Retrieved 2014-05-09 – via ProQuest.
  11. ^ Hansson, Sven Ove (1991). "Is anthroposophy science?". Conceptus XXV. No. 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?'". Free Inquiry.[dead link]

External links[edit]