utilitarian theory of rights
December 5, 2020
This chapter provides a survey of utilitarian theories of justice. This is a sanction theory of rights, akin to Mill’s sanction theory of duty. To see this point more clearly, consider this fact: Your right to life isn’t dependent on whether respecting your life would yield the best set of consequences. 8 short videos present the 7 principles of values-driven leadership from Giving Voice to Values by Mary Gentile. Explain. Richardson argues that the accuracy of an officer’s judgment is affected by his experience, and that those policing in urban environments tend to have a “higher level of implicit racial bias” than those working elsewhere. Like other forms of consequentialism, its core idea is that whether actions are morally right or wrong depends on their effects. Utilitarian Theory and Human Rights Utilitarianism can be defined as a moral theory by which the public welfare of a community is dependent on the “sum welfare of individuals, which is measured in units of pleasure and/or pain”, requiring governments to make decisions based on the “largest sum of pleasure” (Postema, 2006). In the case of the death penalty, I believe that abolition of the death penalty ranks the highest, as it is in the universal interest of the global community to ensure that the innocent always have the opportunity to prove their innocence. As such, it moves beyond the scope of one's own interests and takes into account the interests of others.  Eamon T. Campolettano et al., Development of a Concussion Risk Function for a Youth Population Using Heal Linear and Rotational Acceleration, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 48(1): 92 DOI: 10.1007/s10439-019-02382-2. However, the science in this area is truly not settled. On the other hand Rights are constant and irrevocable.  Ingfei Chen, Exactly How Dangerous Is Football?, The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 2020. This theory has two fundamental premises: (1) the absolute property right of each individual in his own person, his own body; this may be called the right of self-ownership; and (2) the absolute right in material property of the person who first finds an unused material resource and then in some way occupies or transforms that resource by the use of his personal energy. This theory is based on the assumption that offenders are punished to prevent and discourage them from engaging in crimes in future. This would arguably produce the greatest good for the greatest number. The Kachin Independence Army, which includes ethnic minorities who live in the northern Kachin and surrounding regions of Myanmar, has been in armed conflict with the Myanmar government for the restoration of minority ethnic groups’ rights. Why or why not? This has led some to suggest that the NFL is a modern plantation.  Kevin Seifer, Did the Helmet Rule Actually Work? b.  Such proteins develop in tangles that slowly strangle neurons and, consequently, inhibit brain function.. Ethics, Population Health Policy, and Sports-Related TBI, in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Matt Ventresca & Mary McDonald eds, 2020). Pamela R. Sailors, Personal Foul: An Evaluation of the Moral Status of Football, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 42(2): 269-286 (2015). When we are tempted to make a decision that will positively impact the majority, we must also consider the negative impact on the minority. 36 short illustrated videos explain behavioral ethics concepts and basic ethics principles. The universal interest of protecting the right to vote is greater than that which protects from discrimination, because the community then has the power to modify or repeal laws in which it sees as unjust. CNN.com. So, although utilitarianism is arguably the most reason-based approach to determining right and wrong, it has obvious limitations. Self-Reliance. Rights are generally defined as justified claims for the protection of general interests. A utilitarian perspective would focus on outcomes: if more good (more happiness) is created overall by giving a child a job, then it is right to do so, even if we agree that in principle it would be better if the child didn’t need the job. Myanmar amber is plentiful, high quality and contains inclusions within the resin. The Utilitarian theory of property seeks to maximize the population’s utility when a property decision is made, the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Another study of 35 former NFL players over age 50 who had sustained multiple concussions during their careers found no significant association between the length of careers, the number of concussions, and their level of cognitive function later in life. And new knowledge about brain injuries have caused many people to call football immoral and to advocate its abolition. 57 Daniel Goldberg, What Does the Precautionary Principle Demand of Us? One study found no statistically significant difference between the all-cause mortality among career NFL players and NFL replacement players who played just three games during the strike of 1987. The main principle of utilitarian moral theory, the principle of utility, states that the right action is the one that produces the most overall happiness. This statistic is up 61% from 2002-2007, perhaps reflecting an improvement of awareness and reporting. 23 Those juridical rights, then, are characterised by Mill as signs, which is totally coherent with the analytical method and the distrust of fictions of classic utilitarianism. The common statement for the Utilitarian property theory is that in making a property the decision should do the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Retrieved June 2012, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights-human. Youth football players average 240 head impacts per season. More specifically, the only effects of actions that are relevant are the good and bad results that they produce.  Marc Siegel, Concussions and Football: New Helmets, New Tools, The Hill, Aug. 19, 2019. 1. And How Will It Change in 2019?, ESPN, Aug. 19, 2019, at https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27372974/did-helmet-rule-actually-work-2018-how-change-2019.  There is also evidence that the NFL sought to influence the findings of some of the research it funded. 5. Utilitarianism holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number. The Utilitarian Theory / Incentive Theory . Daniel Goldberg observes that “there is also a crucial social and political question that is not simply a function of that empirical evidence base: to what risks is it acceptable to expose youths and adolescents?”. Individual welfarism argues that all other moral concerns must be based on the “welfare of individuals”.  Patrick Findler, Should Kids Play (American) Football?, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 42(3): 443-462 (2015). Discuss your reasoning. Furthermore, the USDOJ argues that the data used to determine voter eligibility is potentially outdated and therefore has the potential to remove those who are in fact citizens and have the right to vote. If a healthy person wanders into the hospital, his organs could be harvested to save four lives at the expense of one life.  3. 37 37 Vaswani, K. (2020, 19 March). If so, how would you go about guarding against it have a deleterious impact? The last human rights violation I will discuss is the recent attempt by Florida Governor Rick Scott to purge voters from registration rolls, in an effort to prevent voter fraud. It is also the most common approach to moral reasoning used in business because of the way in which it accounts for costs and benefits. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.  Daniel Goldberg, What Does the Precautionary Principle Demand of Us? Do you see parallels between the debate as to whether to begin playing football again in the wake of the pandemic and the debate as to whether to abolish or reform football in light of the evidence on brain trauma?  4. The ability to hold a piece of history untouched by time has resulted in a number of scientific discoveries and advances such as feathers on a non-avian dinosaur dated 99 million years ago and the biosynthesis of gene clusters for novel antibiotics. I would rank this resolution higher than the resolution of changing New York’s stop-and-frisk statute to protect against discrimination, because the right to participate in government leads to the ability to change law and policy. Some argue against paternalism and in favor of individual choice, believing that adults (at least) should be able to choose to engage in boxing (and presumably to play football) despite its potentially adverse consequences for brain health. An exclusive right to control certain resources may be thought necessary to enable persons to become independent, self-directing. Ronald Dworkin, a prominent rights-theorist, talks about rights as “trump cards” against considerations of utility or the public good (see the Hinman selection on utilitarianism and rights). They’re all in good shape. Given the obvious conflict of interest, the studies have been criticized on that ground. Although the eclectic utilitarian approach might be considered superior to the classic utilitarian approach (or maybe not), it still does not resolve the property rights problem. Under this … However, in 2017 the Myanmar government dropped leaflets from helicopters informing the population in northern Kachin that civilians and Kachin militants who remain in the region will be considered hostile opposition to the government military forces. Utilitarianism. RIGHTS THEORY.  Kevin M. Guskiewicz et al., Association between Recurrent Concussion and Late-Life Cognitive Impairment in Retired Professional Football Players, Neurosurgery 57(4): 719-726 (2005). Part of the reason is that “[m]ost of the time when a player has a concussion, standard medical imaging techniques do not show damage.” No “gold standard” for diagnosing concussions currently exists. It gives qualified priority to ‘rules of justice’ as Hume’s remarks on ‘that species of utility which attends this virtue’ require. Security, Unique  Christie Aschwanden, Football’s Concussion Crisis is Awash with Pseudoscience, Wired.com, Oct. 2, 2019. Utilitarianism holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), New Yorkers were stopped by the New York Police Department (NYPD) 685,724 times in 2011.  David Gee, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on science Threatens Your Health, Journal of Public Health Policy, 29(4): 474-479 (2008).  Julie M. Stamm et al., Age of First Exposure to Football and Later-life Cognitive Impairment in Former NFL Players, Neurology, 84(11): 1114-1120 (2015). Reuters.  Philip H. Montenigro et al., Cumulative Head Impact Exposure Predicts Later-Life Depression, Apathy, Executive Dysfunction, and Cognitive Impairment in Former High School and College Players, Journal of Neurotraumua 34(2) (2017). What facts would you weigh in making the decision?  Jacqueline Howard, These High School Sports Have the Highest Concussion Rates, CNN, Oct. 15, 2019, at https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/15/health/concussion-high-school-sports-study/index.html. Such a cost-benefit analysis should be impartial — In other words, a decision should equally consider the effects on everyone with no special treatment for your friends, family, or self.. A classic example of utilitarian logic is called the Trolley Problem.  Everett J. Lehman et al., Suicide Mortality Among Retired National Football League Players Who Played 5 or More Seasons, American Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(10): 2486-2491 (2016). The U.S. Justice Department went to court on Tuesday seeking to force Florida election officials to abandon the state's voter registration purge of non-citizens, saying it was being undertaken too close to the November presidential election.  Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016 (quoting CBS News quoting, in turn, Dr. John York).  Julie Mack, What Parents Need to Know about Football, Concussions and Head Injuries, mlive.com, Nov. 24, 2019, at https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/11/what-parents-need-to-know-about-football-and-head-injuries.html (quoting neuroscientist Julie Stamm). RECENT STATUTE. The first human rights violation identified is specific to the issue of racial profiling in law enforcement. See also in CEBE: Ethical Theory; Further Reading: Consequentialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)  Janine Armstrong, NFL Concussion Protocol Explained: How Does It Work?, Sportcasting, Oct. 13, 2019, at https://www.sportscasting.com/nfl-concussion-protocol-explained-how-does-it-work/. Ethics, Population Health Policy, and Sports-Related TBI, in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Matt Ventresca & Mary McDonald eds, 2020).  Nicholas Dixon, Boxing, Paternalism, and Legal Moralism, Social Theory and Practice, 27(2): 323-344 (2001). First, universal interest rules out the interests of individuals that are not shared by the rest of the community. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.  Munro Cullum, Is Football Bad for the Brain? If you took a utilitarian approach to answering this question, what would your reasoning look like? Steve Almond argues that “a civilian leisure class … has created, for its own entertainment, a caste of warriors too big and strong and fast to play a child’s game without grievously injuring one another.”. While some researchers and universities feel as though they should refrain from making such amber purchases, their failure to participate enables many private collectors to remove collections from the public or to charge researchers an exorbitant fee for access. The reality is that we still don’t know who is most likely to suffer a concussion, who will take longer to recover, how anatomic or genetic differences influence concussions, and who may be at risk of prolonged symptoms or developing cognitive problems later in life.”, Furthermore, many of the studies cited by those who would like to abolish tackle football have involved relatively small sample sizes. Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that places the locus of right and wrong solely on the outcomes (consequences) of choosing one action/policy over other actions/policies. Many recent studies point to how dangerous football is to players’ long-term brain health. The co-chair of the NFL’s Health and Safety Advisory Committee has said that the committee thinks helmets are part of the culture and tradition and will not be outlawed in the foreseeable future. The rights theory serves based on positions of justice and rights that consider moral leadership as that which entails just treatment and respect towards individual rights The rights theory of business ethics rests upon the notion that all individuals possess the right towards life and thus they should be treated with the highest respect and dignity required. The key motivation for this revised utilitarian theory is its unique ability to treat properly multi-stage ethical decisions, represented as ethical decision trees, while at the same time recognizing that there is some concept of individual welfare which ought to determine ethical decisions.  Other studies have involved skewed samples, including one where all the NFL players’ brains had been donated because of mental declines that the donors had suffered before their deaths..  Munro Cullum, Is Football Bad for the Brain? The Theory of Utilitarianism Explained With Examples. Utilitarian? The difficulty with this theory stems from defining and aggregating a measure of utility comparable for all people in a cost-benefit analysis. Despite these historical roots, we now tend think of utilitarianism as fundamentally at odds with right-theory (for reasons discussed in lecture).  Michael L. Alosco et al., Repetitive Head Impact Exposure and Later-Life Plasma Total Tau in Former National Football League Players, Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring, 7: 33-40 (2017). If you took a deontological approach, what would your reasoning look like?  Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016.  Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016. In this series of papers, Lyons defends Mill’s view of morality against some critics, differentiates Mill’s views from both act and rule utilitarianism, and criticizes Mill’s attempt to show that utilitarianism can account for justice. This theory of political morality consisted of four components: communal consequentialism, social welfarism, individual welfarism, and compositionalism. Actconsequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if andonly if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the totalamount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greaterthan this net amount for any incompatible … Bry believes that this will never happen. The Utilitarian theory of the justification of punishment stands in opposition to the “retributive” theory, according to which punishment is intended to make the criminal “pay” for his crime. We Know Little About the Long-term Effects of Concussions, Statnews, Sept.27, 2019. The fact that Governor Scott has chosen to ignore laws that restrict the removal of voters from registration rolls so close to a federal election suggests that this is an attempt to prevent those who have the constitutional right to vote as well as the human right to participate in their government. Utilitas, 18(9), 109-133. These studies are broken down by football league level: Given the results of the studies above, it is not surprising that there has been a strong outcry against football. One suggested solution to the concussion problem is to outlaw helmets on the theory that players will be forced to reduce headfirst collisions and other trauma-causing actions. Ethics, Population Health Policy, and Sports-Related TBI, in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Matt Ventresca & Mary McDonald eds, 2020); Alan Schwarz et al., N.F.L.’s Flawed Concussion Research and Ties to Tobacco Industry, New York Times, March 24, 2016. utilitarian approaches. What this means is misleadingly simple; moral intuition refers to an involuntary sentiment or a gut feeling regarding where something is wrong or right…  Eamon T. Campolettano et al., Development of a Concussion Risk Function for a Youth Population Using Heal Linear and Rotational Acceleration, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 48(1): 92 DOI: 10.1007/s10439-019-02382-2. Riding a bicycle carries risk and not a whole lot of parents are not letting their kids ride a bike. Over the last ten years, more than one billion dollars in legal revenue has been generated from the mining and sale of amber. Many people who are in favor of abolishing football or significantly reforming the way it is played are pro-choice when it comes to abortion, minor drug use, and assisted suicide. We Know Little About the Long-term Effects of Concussions, Statnews, Sept.27, 2019. utilitarianism supports strong rights both of democratic participation and of individual freedom of action.  Christie Aschwanden, Football’s Concussion Crisis Is Awash with Pseudoscience, Wired.com, Oct. 2, 2019 (quoting brain scientists Adnan Hirad).  J.S. This yellow to reddish-brown translucent material has been used in a number of ways, including to make jewelry, in Egyptian burials, and in the healing arts. Stop and Frisk Practices. If you apply Systematic Moral Analysis to the question of whether or not it is moral to continue to support and/or play football, do you get different results for different league categories and age groups? (For predecessors, see Schneewind 1997, 2002. Concussion Suit, New York Times, April 22, 2015. If the theory is to be truly utilitarian, it must maintain the utility principle as its ultimate standard, and no intermediate rules or rights could stand against it. A collection of one-of-a-kind videos that highlight the ethical aspects of various subjects. Relatedly, should fans of the game be ashamed of themselves? Critics of consequentialism or utilitarianism argue that such theories are inconsistent wth the notion that people have rights According to critics of utilitarian or consequentialist theory, in these theories  Ashwin L. Rao et al., Suicide in National Collegiate Athletic (NCAA) Athletes: a 9-Year Analysis of the NCAA Resolutions Database, Sports Health 7(5): 452-457 (2015). Football rules intentionally create high speed collisions between human beings, making such injuries inevitable and the sport controversial. Over two regular seasons (2012-2014), NFL players sustained 4,384 injuries, including 301 concussions. How do we answer that question? Utilitarian and retributivist are the two major theories used in support of punishments (Corlett, 2006). Utilitarianism also has trouble accounting for values such as justice and individual rights. A valid theory cannot have faulty conclusions, and so thinkingabout rights shows utilitarianism not to be a valid normative theory. (1964). High school athletes are reluctant to report concussions.  Studies indicate that there are helmets that may decrease concussions, but neuroscientist Julie Stamm says: “No helmet will ever be concussion-proof, because the brain still moves inside the skull.  Adnan A. Hirad, A Common Neural Signature of Brain Injury in Concussion and Subconcussion, Science Advances 5(8), Aug. 2019. On a utilitarian view of rights, the problem to …  Daniel Goldberg, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, the National Football League, and the Manufacture of Doubt: An Ethical, Legal, and Historical Analysis, Journal of Legal Medicine, 34: 157-191 (2013). And for the same reason, a helmet alone will not prevent CTE.” Furthermore, while the NFL has banned helmet-to-helmet hits, these are neither the only nor the most common cause of concussions. In addition, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) restricts the use of the death penalty to lethal crimes or “crimes with extremely grave consequences” and the UN Human Rights Committee states “that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional measure” (Sangiorgio, 2011). Though the first systematic account of utilitarianism was developedby Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), the core insight motivating the theoryoccurred much earlier. Explain why and how using that approach might play out. However death sentences as recent as 2010 were imposed or carried out for offenses that did not meet the criteria specified in Article 6 of the ICCPR. Utilitarianism is one of the best known and most influential moral theories. A 2017 study found CTE in 21% of donated brains of deceased high school football players. The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) contends that this is in violation of the National Voter Registration Law, which requires states to complete any “systematic removal” of voters from election lists within 90 days of a federal election, and the State of Florida has missed that deadline. Wondering what utilitarianism is and how the aforementioned incident is an example of it? However, However, there are some weaknesses in this theory. Being Your Best Self, Part 1: Moral Awareness, Being Your Best Self, Part 2: Moral Decision Making, Being Your Best Self, Part 3: Moral Intent, Being Your Best Self, Part 4: Moral Action, Ethical Leadership, Part 1: Perilous at the Top, Ethical Leadership, Part 2: Best Practices, Curbing Corruption: GlaxoSmithKline in China. Three features are used to define and identify universal interest. Explain. Retrieved July 2012, from http://www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/stop-and-frisk-practices, Nickel, J. The Stop-And-Frisk statute of 1964 in New York states that police officers have the right to stop any person in a public place where the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed or about to commit a serious crime. Some of these are high impacts comparable to those experienced in high school and college games. Start studying Utilitarianism and rights theory. A theory of right action is implicit in Hume’s delineation of the virtues. Empirical research supports the notion that allowing children to engage in dangerous forms of play is key to their optimal development. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory.. Among those who were stopped, 53% were black, 34% were Latino, and only 9% were white (New York Civil Liverties Union).  Ted Tatos, Playing Games with College Athletes’ Lives, The American Prospect, May 20, 2020. After a single season, college football players had less midbrain white matter than they had started with. Utilitarian Theory and Human Rights Utilitarianism can be defined as a moral theory by which the public welfare of a community is dependent on the “sum welfare of individuals, which is measured in units of pleasure and/or pain”, requiring governments to make decisions based on the “largest sum of pleasure” (Postema, 2006). Explain.  William Stewart et al., Primum Non Nocere: A Call for Balance When Reporting on CTE, Lancet Neurology, 18:231-232 (2019). As told in the movies, a significant scientific breakthrough occurred in 2002 when an African-American neuropathologist in Pittsburgh named Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith in the 2015 movie “Concussion”) performed an autopsy on Hall of Fame center Mike Webster. In particular, Article 7 states that “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”, however the statistics provided by the NYCLU clearly suggests that blacks and Latinos are routinely stopped by the NYPD more than whites. 2.2 Utilitarian Ethics Utilitarian ethics is a normative ethical system that is primarily concerned with the consequences of ethical decisions; therefore it can be described as a teleological theory or consequentialist theory, which are essentially the same thing, both having a notion that the consequence of the act is the most important determinant of the act being moral or not.  Many researchers in the area recently published an article saying: Contrary to common perception, the clinical syndrome of CTE has not yet been fully defined. 3352 (Dec. 2016). It has been suggested at both the NFL and collegiate level that team physicians are faced with conflicting loyalties.  Bill Pennington, Trump Says N.F.L. They’re all 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22-year-olds. Myanmar classifies amber as a gemstone, not a fossil, so it can be legally removed from the country, unlike fossils that have restrictions on removal. Russell, The Value of Dangerous Sport, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 32: 1-19 (2005). Dr. Omalu identified abnormal clumps of the protein tau in Webster’s brain, which he believed to be evidence of CTE. Article 21 of the UDHR states that “everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly, or through freely chosen representative”. I would rank the resolutions of the voter registration purge and the application of the stop-and-frisk statute second and third, respectively. See also Michael Cunningham, Player Safety Takes Back Seat as NCAA Rushes to Allow Campus Workouts, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 22, 2020. Watch the Super Bowl?, the New Yorker, Feb. 1,.! Major theories used in support of punishments ( Corlett, 2006 ) to call immoral! 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Second and third, respectively “ welfare of the philosophy of 'Utilitarianism.! Myanmar amber learn from the mining and sale of amber protection of interests! Let alone the most ethical one a single season, college players, high school ) players mature... Riding a bicycle carries risk and not a whole lot of parents are shared... Those of the philosophy of 'Utilitarianism ', let alone the most ethical is... P. 63 ) [ 80 ] Anthony E. Prior, the American population but 68 % the! And Bad results that they produce lastly, each member of the American population but 68 % of donated of. 23 ( 3 ), 473-477 core foundation of utilitarianism is an ethical theory that defends we!
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