Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 02: “PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON LIFE”

Funding for this program provided by Additional funding provided by last time we argued about the case of the Queen verses Dudley and Stephens the lifeboat case, the case of cannibalism
at sea and with the arguments about the lifeboat in mind the arguments for and against
what Dudley and Stephens did in mind, let’s turn back to the philosophy the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham Bentham was born in England in 1748,
at the age of twelve he went to Oxford, at fifteen he went to law
school he was admitted to the bar at age nineteen
but he never practiced law, instead he devoted his life to jurisprudence and moral philosophy. last time we began to consider Bentham’s version
of utilitarianism the main idea is simply stated and it’s this, the highest principle of morality whether personal or political morality is to maximize the general welfare or the collective happiness or the overall balance of pleasure over
pain in a phrase maximize utility Bentham arrives at this principle by the following
line of reasoning we’re all governed by pain and pleasure they are our sovereign masters and so any
moral system has to take account of them. How best to take account? By maximizing and this leads to the principle of the greatest good for the greatest
number what exactly should we maximize? Bentham tells us happiness or more precisely utility. Maximizing utility is a principal not only
for individuals but also for communities and for legislators what after all is a community Bentham asks, it’s the sum of the individuals who comprise it and that’s why in deciding the best policy, in deciding what the
law should be, in deciding what’s just, citizens and legislators should ask themselves
the question if we add up, all of the benefits of this policy and subtract all of the costs, the right thing to do is the one that maximizes the balance of happiness over suffering. that’s what it means to maximize utility now, today I want to see whether you agree or disagree with it, and it often goes, this utilitarian logic, under
the name of cost-benefit analysis which is used by companies and by governments all the time and what it involves is placing a value usually a dollar value
to stand for utility on the costs and the benefits of various proposals. recently in the Czech Republic there was a proposal to increases the excise
tax on smoking Philip Morris, the tobacco company, does huge business in the Czech Republic. They commissioned a study of cost-benefit analysis of smoking in the Czech Republic and what their cost benefit analysis found was the government gains by having Czech citizens smoke. Now, how do they gain? It’s true that there are negative effects to the public finance of the Czech government because there are increased health care costs
for people who develop smoking-related diseases on the other hand there were positive
effects and those were added up on the other side of the ledger the positive effects included, for the most
part, various tax revenues that the government derives from the sale of cigarette products
but it also included health care savings to the government when people die early pensions savings, you don’t have to pay pensions
for as long, and also savings in housing costs for the elderly and when all of the costs and benefits were added
up the Philip Morris study found that there is a net public finance gain
in the Czech Republic of a hundred and forty seven million dollars and given the savings in housing and health care and pension costs the government enjoys the saving of savings
of over twelve hundred dollars for each person who dies prematurely due to
smoking. cost-benefit analysis now, those among you who are defenders utilitarianism
may think that this is a unfair test Philip Morris was pilloried in the press and
they issued an apology for this heartless calculation you may say that what’s missing here is something that
the utilitarian can be easily incorporate mainly the value to the person and to the families
of those who die from lung cancer. what about the value of life? Some cost-benefit analyses incorporate a measure for the value of life. One of the most famous of these involved the
Ford Pinto case did any of you read about that? this was back
in the 1970’s, you remember that the Ford Pinto was, a kind of car? anybody? it was a small car, subcompact car,
very popular but it had one problem which is the fuel tank was at the
back of the car and in rear collisions the fuel tank exploded and some people were killed and some severely injured. victims of these injuries took Ford to court
to sue and in the court case it turned out that Ford had long since known about the vulnerable fuel tank and had done a cost-benefit analysis to determine
whether it would be worth it to put in a special shield that would protect the fuel tank and prevent it
from exploding. They did a cost benefit analysis the cost per part to increase the safety of the Pinto, they calculated at eleven dollars per part and here’s, this was the cost benefit analysis that emerged in the trial, eleven dollars per part at 12.5 million cars and trucks came to a total cost of 137 million dollars to improve the safety but then they calculated the benefits of spending all this money on a safer car and they counted 180 deaths and they assigned a dollar value 200 thousand dollars per death 180 injuries 67 thousand and then the cost to repair the replacement cost for two thousand
vehicles that would be destroyed without the safety device 700 dollars per vehicle, so the benefits turned out to be only 49.5 million, and so they didn’t install the device needless to say when this memo of the Ford Motor Company’s cost-benefit analysis came
out in the trial it appalled the jurors who awarded a huge settlement is this a counter example to the utilitarian
idea of calculating because Ford included a measure of the value life. Now who here wants to defend cost-benefit analysis from this apparent counter example who has a defense? or do you think it’s completely destroys the whole utilitarian calculus? I think that once again they’ve made the same mistake the previous case
did that they’ve assigned a dollar value to human life and once again they failed to take into
account things like suffering and emotional losses of families, I mean families
lost earnings but they also lost a loved one and that is more value than 200 thousand dollars. Good, and wait wait wait, what’s you’re name? Julie Roto. so if two hundred thousand, Julie, is too too low a figure because it doesn’t include
the loss of a loved one, and the loss of those years of life, what would be, what do you think would be a more accurate number? I don’t believe I could give a number I think
that this sort of analysis shouldn’t be applied to issues of human life. I think it can’t be used monetarily so they didn’t just put to low a number, Julie says, they were wrong to try to
put any number at all. all right let’s hear someone who you have to adjust for inflation all right fair enough so what would the number of being now? this is was thirty five years ago two million dollars you would put two million and what’s your name Voicheck Voicheck says we have to allow for inflation we should be more generous then would you be satisfied that this is the
right way of thinking about the question? I guess unfortunately it is for there’s needs to be of number put somewhere I’m not sure what number would be but I do
agree that there could possibly be a number put on a human life. all right so Voicheck says and here he disagrees with Julie Julie says we can’t put a number of human
life for the purpose of a cost-benefit analysis,
Voicheck says we have to because we have to make decisions somehow what do other people think about this?
Is there anyone prepared to defend cost-benefit analysis here as accurate, as desirable? I think that if ford and other car companies didn’t use
cost-benefit analysis they’d eventually go out of business because they wouldn’t be able
to be profitable and millions of people wouldn’t be able to use
their cars to get to jobs, to put food on the table to feed their children so I think that if cost-benefit
analysis isn’t employed the greater good is sacrificed in this case. Alright let me ask, what’s your name? Raul. Raul. there was recently a study done about cell
phone use by drivers, when people are driving a car, and there’s a debate about whether that should be
banned and the figure was that some two thousand people die as a result of accidents each year using cell phones and yet the cost benefit analysis which was done by
the center for risk analysis at Harvard found that if you look at the benefits of the cell phone use and you put some value on the life, it comes out about
the same because of the enormous economic benefit
of enabling people to take advantage of their time, not waste time, be able to make deals
and talk to friends and so on while they’re driving doesn’t that suggest that it’s a mistake to try to put monetary figures
on questions of human life? well I think that if the great majority of people tried to derive maximum utility out of a service
like using cell phones and the convenience that cell phones provide that sacrifice is necessary for satisfaction to occur. You’re an outright utilitarian. In, yes okay. all right then, one last question Raul and I put this to Voicheck, what dollar figure should be put on human life to decide whether to ban the
use of cell phones well I don’t want to arbitrarily calculate a figure, I mean right now I think that you want to take it under advisement. yeah I’ll take it under advisement. but what roughly speaking would it be? you’ve
got 23 hundred deaths you’ve got to assign a dollar value to know
whether you want to prevent those deaths by banning the use of cell phones in cars so what would you’re hunch be? how much? million two million two million was Voitech’s figure is that about right? maybe a million. a million.?! Alright that’s good, thank you So these are some of the controversies that arise
these days from cost-benefit analysis especially those that involve placing a dollar value on everything to be
added up. well now I want to turn to your objections, to your objections not necessarily
to cost benefit analysis specifically, because that’s just one version of the utilitarian logic in practice today, but to the theory as a whole, to the idea that the right thing to do, the just basis for policy and law, is to maximize utility. How many disagree with the utilitarian approach to law and to the common good? How many bring with it? so more agree than disagree. so let’s hear from the critics my main issue with it is that I feel like you can’t say that just because someone’s
in the minority what they want and need is less valuable than
someone who’s in the majority so I guess I have an issue with the idea that the greatest good for the greatest number is okay because there is still what about people who are in the lesser number, like it’s not fair to them
they didn’t have a say in where they wanted to be. alright now that’s an interesting objection, you’re
worried about the effect on minority. yes. what’s your name by the way. Anna. alright who has an answer to Anna’s worry about
the effect on the minority What do you say to Anna? she said that the minorities value less, I don’t think that’s
the case because individually the minorities value is just the same as the individual in the majority
it’s just that the numbers outweigh the minority and I mean at a certain point you have to make a
decision and I’m sorry for the minority but sometimes it’s for the general for the greater good. For the greater good, Anna what do you
say? what’s your name? Youngda. What do you say to Youngda? Youngda says you just have to add up people’s
preferences and those in the minority do have their preferences
weighed. can you give an example of the kind of thing
you’re worried about when you say you’re worried about utilitarianism violating the concern or respect due the minority? can you give an example. so well with any of the cases that we’ve talked
about, like with the shipwreck one, I think that the boy who was eaten still had just as much of a right to live as the other people
and just because he was the minority in that case the one who maybe had less of a chance to keep living that doesn’t mean that the others automatically have a right
to eat him just because it would give a greater amount of people the chance to live. so there may be a certain rights that the minority members have that the individual has that
shouldn’t be traded off for the sake of utility? yes Anna? Now this would be a test for you, back in ancient Rome they threw Christians to the lions in the
coliseum for sport if you think how the utilitarian calculus
would go yes, the Christian thrown to the lion suffers enormous
excruciating pain, but look at the collective ecstasy of the Romans. Youngda. Well in that time I don’t think in the modern-day of time to value the, um, to given
a number to the happiness given to the people watching I don’t think any policy maker would say the pain of one person, the suffering of one person is
much much, in comparison to the happiness gained no but you have to admit that if there were
enough Romans delirious with happiness, it would outweigh even the most excruciating
pain of a handful of Christians thrown to the lion. so we really have here two different objections
to utilitarianism one has to do with whether utilitarianism adequately respects individual rights or minority rights and the other has to do with the whole idea of aggregating utility for preferences or values is it possible to aggregate all values to translate them into dollar terms? there was in the 1930’s a psychologist who tried to address the second question. He tried to prove what utilitarianism assumes, that it is possible to translate all goods, all values, all human concerns into a single uniform measure and he did this by conducting a survey of the young recipients of relief, this was
in the 1930’s and he asked them, he gave them a list of
unpleasant experiences and he asked them how much would you have to
be paid to undergo the following experiences and he kept track for example how much would you have to be paid to have
one upper front tooth pulled out or how much would you have to be paid to have one little
one tow cut off? or eat a live earth worm, six inches long or to live the rest of your life on a farm in
Kansas or to choke a stray cat to death with your bare hands now what do you suppose what do you suppose was the most expensive
item on that list Kansas? You’re right it was Kansas for a Kansas people said they’d have to pay them they have to be paid three hundred
thousand dollars what do you think what do you think was the next most expensive? not the cat not the tooth not the toe the worm! people said you’d have to pay them a hundred
thousand dollars to eat the worm what do you think was the least expensive
item? not the cat the tooth during the depression people were willing
to have their tooth pulled for only forty five hundred dollars now here’s what Thorndike concluded from his study any want or satisfaction which exists, exists in some amount and is therefore measurable the life of a dog or a cat or a chicken consists of appetites cravings desires and their gratifications so does the life of human beings though the appetites and desires are more complicated but what about Thorndike’s study? does it support Bentham’s idea that all goods all values can be captured according
to a single uniform measure of value or does the preposterous character of those
different items on the list suggest the opposite conclusion that may be whether we’re talking about life or Kansas or the worm maybe the things we value and cherish can’t be captured according to a single uniform measure of value and if they can’t what are the consequences for the utilitarian theory of morality that’s a question we’ll continue with next
time alright now let’s take the other part of the poll which is the the highest experience or pleasure? how many say Shakespeare how many say fear Factor no you can’t be serious really? last time last time we began to consider some objections to Jeremy Bentham’s version of utilitarianism people raised two objections in the discussion we had the first was the objection, the claim that utilitarianism, by concerning itself with the greatest good for the greatest number fails adequately to respect individual rights. today we have debates about torture and terrorism suppose a suspected terrorists was apprehended
on September tenth and you had reason to believe that the suspect had crucial information about an impending
terrorist attack that would kill over three thousand people and you couldn’t extract the information would it be just to torture the suspect to get the information or do you say no there is a categorical moral duty of
respect for individual rights in a way we’re back to the questions we started
with t about trolley cars and organ transplants so that’s
the first issue and you remember we considered some examples of
cost-benefit analysis but a lot of people were unhappy with cost-benefit
analysis when it came to placing a dollar value on
human life and so that led us to the second objection, it questioned whether it’s possible to translate
all values into a single uniform measure of value it asks in other words whether all values
are commensurable let me give you one other example of an experience, this actually is a true
story, it comes from personal experience that raises a question at least about whether
all values can be translated without loss into utilitarian terms some years ago when I was a graduate student I was at Oxford
in England and they had men’s and women’s colleges they weren’t yet mixed and the women’s colleges had rules against overnight male guests by the nineteen seventies these rules were rarely enforced and easily violated, or so I was told, by the late nineteen seventies when I was there,
pressure grew to relax these rules and it became the subject of debate among the faculty at St. Anne’s College which was one of these all women colleges the older women on the faculty we’re traditionalists they were opposed to
change on conventional moral grounds but times had changed and they were embarrassed to give the true grounds of their objection and so the translated their arguments into utilitarian terms if men stay overnight, they argued, the costs to the college will increase. how you might wonder well they’ll want to take baths, and that
will use up hot water they said furthermore they argued we’ll have to replace the mattresses more often the reformers met these arguments by adopting the following
compromise each woman could have a maximum of three overnight male
guest each week they didn’t say whether it had to be the same
one, or three different provided and this is the compromise provided the guest paid fifty pence to defray the cost to the college the next day the national headline in the national newspaper
read St. Anne’s girls, fifty pence a night another illustration of the difficulty of translating all values in this case a certain idea of virtue into utilitarian terms so that’s all to illustrate the second objection to utilitarianism, at least the
part of that objection that questions rather the utilitarianism is right to assume that we can assume the uniformity of value, the commensurability of values
and translate all moral considerations into dollars or money. But there is a second aspect to this worry about aggregating values
and preferences why should we weigh all preferences that people have without assessing whether they’re good preferences
or bad preferences shouldn’t we distinguish between higher pleasures and lower pleasures. Now, part of the appeal of not making any qualitative distinctions about
the worth of people’s preferences, part of the appeal is that it is non-judgmental and egalitarian the Benthamite utilitarian says everybody’s preferences count and they count regardless of what people want regardless of what makes it different people happy. For Bentham, all that matters you’ll remember are the intensity and the duration of a pleasure or pain the so-called higher pleasures or nobler
virtues are simply those, according to Bentham that produce stronger, longer, pleasure yet a famous phrase to express this idea the quantity of pleasure being equal pushpin is as good as poetry. What was pushpin? It was some kind of a child’s game like to tidily winks
pushpin is as good as poetry Bentham said and lying behind this idea I think is the claim the intuition that it’s a presumption to judge whose pleasures are intrinsically higher or worthier or better and there is something attractive in this refusal to judge, after all some people like Mozart, others Madonna some people like ballet others bowling, who’s to say a Benthamite might argue, who’s to say which
of these pleasures whose pleasures are higher worthier nobler than others? But, is that right? this refusal to make qualitative distinctions can we altogether dispense with the idea that certain things we take pleasure in are better or worthier than others think back to the case of the Romans in the coliseum,
one thing that troubled people about that practice is that it seemed to violate the rights of the Christian another way of objecting to what’s going
on there is that the pleasure that the Romans
take in this bloody spectacle should that pleasure which is a base, kind of corrupt degrading pleasure, should that even be valorized or weighed in deciding what
the the general welfare is? so here are the objections to Bentham’s
utilitarianism and now we turn to someone who tried to respond to those objections, a later day utilitarian John Stuart Mill so what we need to examine now is whether John Stuart Mill had a convincing
reply to these objections to utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 his father James Mill was a disciple of Bentham’s and James Mills set about giving his son John Stuart Mill a model education he was a child prodigy John Stuart Mill the knew Latin, sorry, Greek at the age of three,
Latin at eight and at age ten he wrote a history of Roman law. At age twenty he had a nervous breakdown this left him in a depression for five years but at age twenty five what helped lift him
out of this depression is that he met Harriet Taylor she in no doubt married him, they lived happily ever after and it was under her influence the John Stuart Mill try to humanize utilitarianism what Mill tried to do was to see whether the utilitarian calculus could be enlarged and modified to accommodate humanitarian concerns like the concern to respect individual rights and also to address the distinction between
higher and lower pleasures. In 1859 Mill wrote a famous book
on liberty the main point of which was the importance
of defending individual rights and minority rights and in 1861 toward the end of his life he wrote the book we read is part of this course Utilitarianism. It makes it clear that utility is the only standard of morality in his view so he’s not challenging Bentham’s premise, he’s affirming it. he says very explicitly the sole evidence, it is possible to produce that anything is
desirable is that people actually do desire it. so he stays with the idea that our de facto
actual empirical desires are the only basis for moral judgment. but then page eight also in chapter two, he argues that it is possible
for a utilitarian to distinguish higher from lower pleasures. now, those of you who’ve read Mill already how according to him is it possible to draw that
distinction? How can a utilitarian distinguish qualitatively higher pleasures from lesser ones, base ones, unworthy ones? If you tried both of them and you’ll prefer the higher one naturally
always that’s great, that’s right. What’s your name? John. so as John points out Mill says here’s the test, since we can’t step outside actual desires, actual preferences that would violate utilitarian premises, the only test of whether a pleasure is higher or lower is whether someone who has experienced
both would prefer it. And here, in chapter two we see the passage where Mill makes the point that John just described of two pleasures, if there be one to which all
are almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to
prefer it, in other words no outside, no independent standard, then that is the more desirable pleasure. what do people think about that argument. does that does it succeeded? how many think that it does succeed? of arguing within utilitarian terms for a
distinction between higher and lower pleasures. how many think it doesn’t succeed? I want to hear your reasons. but before we give the reasons let’s do an experiment of Mills’ claim. In order to do this experiment we’re going to look that three short excerpts of popular entertainment the first one is a Hamlet soliloquy it’ll be followed by two other experiences see what you think. ‘what a piece of work is a man how noble in reason how infinite in faculties in form and moving, how express and admirable in action how like an angel. In apprehension, how like a god the beauty of the world the paragon of animals and yet, to me what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me. Imagine a world where your greatest fears become reality each show, six contestants from around the country battle
each other in three extreme stunts. these stunts are designed to challenge
these contestants both physically and mentally six contestants, three stunts, one winner. Fear factor. The Simpsons. Well hi diddly-o peddle to the metal o-philes!
Flanders- since when do you like anything cool. well, I don’t care for the speed, but I can’t get enough of that
safety gear helmets, roll bars, caution flags. I like the fresh
air and looking at the poor people in the infield. Dang Cletus, why you got to park by my parents. Now hunny, it’s my parents too. I don’t even have to ask which one you like
most the Simpsons? How many like the Simpson’s most? How many Shakespeare? What about fear factor? how many preferred fear factor? really? people overwhelmingly like the Simpsons better than Shakespeare. alright, now let’s take the other part of the poll which is the highest experience or pleasure? how many say Shakespeare? how many say fear factor? no you can’t be serious really? alright go ahead you can say it. I found that one the most entertaining I know but which do you think was the worthiest,
the noblest experience, I know you find it the most anything if something is good just because it is pleasurable
what is the matter if you have some kind of abstract idea of whether it is good by someone else’s
sense or not. Alright so you come down on the straight Benthamite’s side whose to judge and why should we judge apart from just registering and aggregating
de facto preferences, alright fair enough. what’s your name? Nate? okay fair enough Alright so how many think that the Simpson’s is actually apart from liking is actually the higher experience higher than Shakespeare. Alright let’s see the vote for Shakespeare again how many think Shakespeare is higher? alright so why is it ideally I’d like to hear from someone is there
someone think Shakespeare is highest but who preferred watching the Simpsons Like I guess just sitting and watching the Simpsons, it’s entertaining
because the make jokes, they make us laugh but someone has to tell us that Shakespeare was this great writer
we had to be taught how to read him, how to understand him, we had to be taught how to take in Rembrandt, how to analyze a painting. well how do, what’s your name? Aneesha. Aneesha, when you say someone told you that Shakespeare’s better are you accepting it on blind faith you voted that
Shakespeare’s higher only because the culture tells you that our teachers tell you that
or do you actually agree with that yourself well in the sense that Shakespeare, no, but earlier you made an example of Rembrandt I feel like I would enjoy a reading a comic book
more than I would enjoy a kind of analyzing Rembrandt because someone told me it was
great, you know. Right so of some this seems to be, you’re suggesting a kind of cultural convention and pressure. We’re told what books, what works of art are great. who else? although I enjoyed watching the Simpsons more
in this particular moment in Justice, if I were to spend the rest of my life
considering the three different video clips shown I would not want to spend that remainder of my life considering the latter two clips. I think I would derive more pleasure from being able to branch out in my own mind sort of considering more deep pleasures, more
deep thoughts. and tell me your name Joe. Joe, so if you had to spend the rest of your life
on on a farm in Kansas with only with only Shakespeare or the collected episodes of the Simpsons you would prefer Shakespeare what do you conclude from that about John Stuart Mill’s test but the test of a higher pleasure is whether people who have experienced both prefer it. can I cite another example briefly? in biology in neuro biology last year we were told of a rat who was
tested a particular center in the brain where the rat was able to stimulate its
brain and cause itself intense pleasure repeatedly the rat did not eat or drink until it died so the rat was clearly experiencing intense
pleasure now if you asked me right now if I’d rather
experience intense pleasure or have a full lifetime of higher pleasure, I would consider
intense pleasure to be lower pleasure, right now enjoy intense pleasure yes I would but over a lifetime I think I would think almost a complete majority here would agree that they would rather be a human
with higher pleasure that rat with intense pleasure for a momentary period of time so now in answer to your question, right, I think this proves that, or I won’t say proves I think the conclusion is that Mill’s theory that when a majority people are
asked what they would rather do, they will answer that they would rather engage in a higher pleasure. So you think that this
supports Mills, that Mills was on to something here I do. all right is there anyone who disagrees with Joe who thinks that
our experiment disproves Mills’ test shows that that’s not an adequate way that you can’t distinguish higher pleasures within
the utilitarian framework. If whatever is good is truly just whatever
people prefer it’s truly relative and there’s no objective definition then there will be some society where people prefer
Simpsons more anyone can appreciate the Simpsons, but I think
it does take education to appreciate Shakespeare Alright, you’re saying it takes education to appreciate
higher true thing Mill’s point is that the higher pleasures do require cultivation and appreciation and education he doesn’t dispute that but once having been cultivated and educated people will see not only see the difference between higher
lower pleasures but will it actually prefer the higher to the lower. you find this famous passage from John Stuart
Mill- it is better to be a human being dissatisfied then a pig satisfied. Better to the Socrates dissatisfied than
a fool satisfied and if the fool or the pig are of a different opinion it is because they only know their side of the question. so here you have an attempt to distinguish higher from lower pleasures so going to an art museum or being a couch
potato, swilling beer watching television at home sometimes Mill agrees we might succumb to the temptation to do the latter, to be couch potatoes, but even when we do that out of indolence and sloth, we know that the pleasure we get gazing at Rembrandts in the museum is actually higher, because we’ve experienced both. And is a higher pressure gazing at Rembrandts because of engages our higher human faculties what about Mill’s attempt to reply to the objection about individual rights? In a way he uses the same kind of argument and this comes out in chapter five he says while I dispute the pretensions of any
theory which sets up an imaginary standard of justice not grounded on utility, but still he considers justice grounded on utility to be what he calls the
chief part and incomparably the most sacred and binding
part of all morality. so justice is higher individual rights are privileged but not for reasons that depart from utilitarian assumptions. Justice is a name for certain moral requirements which, regarded collectively stand higher in the scale of social utility and are therefore of more paramount obligation than any others so justice is sacred, it’s prior, it’s privileged,
it isn’t something that can easily be traded off against lesser things but the reason is ultimately Mills Claims a utilitarian reason once you consider the long run interests of humankind, of all of us, as progressive beings. If we do justice and if we respect rights society as a whole will be better off in the long run. Well is that convincing? Or is Mill actually, without admitting it, stepping
outside utilitarian considerations in arguing for qualitatively higher pleasures and for sacred or specially important individual rights? we haven’t fully answered that question because to answer that question in the case of rights and justice will require that we explore other ways, non utilitarian ways of accounting for the basis or rights and then asking whether they succeed as for Jeremy Bentham, who launched utilitarianism as a doctrine in moral and legal philosophy Bentham died in 1832 at the
age of eighty five but if you go to London you can visit him
today literally. he provided in his will that his body be preserved, embalmed and displayed in the university of London where he still presides in a glass case with a wax head dressed in his actual clothing. you see before he died, Bentham addressed himself to a question consistent
with his philosophy, of what use could a dead man be to the living one use, he said, would be to make one’s corpse
available for the study of anatomy in the case of great philosophers, however, better yet to preserve one’s physical presence in order
to inspire future generations of thinkers. You want to see what Bentham looks like stuffed? Here’s what he looks like There he is now, if you look closely you’ll notice that the embalming up his actual had was not a
success so they substituted a waxed head and at the bottom for verisimilitude you can actually see his actual had on a plate you see it? right there so, what’s the moral of the story? the moral of the story by the way they bring him out during meetings
of the board at university college London and the minutes record him as present but
not voting. here is a philosopher in life and in death who adhered to the principles of his philosophy. we’ll continue with rights next time. Don’t miss the chance to interact online with other viewers of Justice join the conversation, take a pop quiz, watch lectures you’ve missed, and a lot more. Visit Justiceharvard.org It’s the right thing to do. funding for this program is provided by additional funding provided by

100 thoughts on “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 02: “PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON LIFE”

  1. This idea of Stuart Mill of the preference by people who have experienced both, seems horrible to me: think of people that obtain pleasure from raping other people, or killing them. I am happy of what I am learning but so far utilitarianism seems to only work for me when it compares things that are really similar but in different numbers.

  2. Idk what rauls problem is he dropped the price from 2 million to 1 like what type of soul does that man possess. Also it woulda gotten a lot more interesting if he threw out a number like 35 million or something high to see the reactions but idk that guy is a straight weirdo good job Harvard what a bunch of robots

  3. As long as the utilitarianism exists, there will always some or someone or something to sacrifice. I think, it has something to do of the scarcity of resources. However, morality speaking, I beli there is no number you can put in a value of life.

  4. if it's done the right why they wouldnt need to perform cost benefit analysis. they're trying to cut corner by maximizing profit. since the government already requires you to hold insurance they shouldn't be cutting corners imo. not sure if that applies to your scenario since i'm positive the government didnt require insurance by the people at that time. putting a price tag on life doesn't make sense because of the unknown the prospects of kin and there after a life cut short is not the right way of thinking if tragic event were to occur then that was meant to be but by cutting corners and expecting the best is not the way it is or should be.

  5. the roman analogy you gave well if they were unpleased with their ruler or overseeing of community they might want to rebel and total chaos would occur so by pinning one class against another they were creating unity and peace for the whole.

  6. the survey could have been skewed if people were to say they're rather get their tooth pulled out before they eat a worn. i mean were they all wealthy? rather take out a tooth than to eat a worm? they probably werent taking it seriously or they didnt think the out life after they received the money.

  7. well as like life is fleeting the pressures of ones self change so how do you quantitatively adjust the moral grounds of pleasure what is the measuring bar? who's to say ones satifations arent as worthy as another. i guess if i really had to think about it hunting tigers is a pleasure held by some and the process do to that travesty lead to the near extinction of a species for future generations not to appreciate.32:51

  8. that doesn't make sense that's like saying would you rather shoot your foot or your arm. 37:10

  9. i guess shakespeare is the higher pleasure because it holds deeper meaning than the simponsons which is a temporary form of entertainment where as shakespeare simulates the mind into achieving sense of wholeness 44:04

  10. i mean i guess lets say a society said we're only going to eat humans because they taste good and it gives us pleasure but everyone around them tells them their wrong for doing that. id have to agree that what they're doing is wrong. i dont know if that makes sense but whatever 47:23

  11. This lecturer justifies his lecture on fake examples.

  12. In my class , my teacher just put a price on a human's life when calculating whether a patient should be cured.

  13. Harvard law removed torture clinic info for malia Obama at the request of Barack and michelle, two affirmative action alumni, "to give her a space for her" after he began ordering forced Chinese neurosurgeries of white women with harvard faculty

  14. The guy in blue who said he liked fear factor the most went on to murder 3 of his classmates later on

  15. I must admit that nothing till date has swayed me towards using my judgements more than this. I'm truly mesmerised by this. Thank u, Harvard

  16. Moral of Benthams corpse story ? Do not trust the future thinkers with your head or they would put it at your feet!

  17. Many questions are raised but those clear questions need a very clear and underlined answers…

  18. if not adapt with majority, minority that should leave ,go other place

    pleasure by majority is most pleasure,i agree,like drunk

  19. Nous aimerions dรฉmocratie dont charitรฉ n' est pas volรฉ par notre prรฉsident en Taรฏwan

  20. I don't want to critique anyone but in the video regarding "cannibalism at sea" nobody mentioned capacity. In common law, capacity is a fundamental principle. Parker, the"deck boy" was ill as a result of drinking sea water against the advice of the captain, furthermore, it was even suggested that he was "dying". Along with this, the captain and other 2 sailors had survived over 20 days on nothing but 2 cans of stewed turnips and a turtle. Thus it could be argued that nobody was of reasonable capacity to assess the consequences of their actions seep silly when it was proposed that each if the sailors draw straws to determine who would be killed and eaten.

    And although the men in this case were tried. There was a case from a few decades ago whereby a plane crashed with a sports team on board. They were stranded on a cold mountain range and days went by and as they did more people died. The remaking passengers began to eat those who had died. The difference is that they never killed anyone unlike the previous case

  21. Engineers do C – B Analysis all the time. As an Environmental Engineer, I do C – B Analysis in Green Economics. This gets very complicated but it must be done. Add in the risk calculations and you can see how the math gets gigantic. Add in the math that the Actuaries of the Insurance Companies do. .. Now try to do all this math for the Gulf of Mexico, BP Oil Spill. .. Now do the full cost calculations for the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. .. So, you see, Engineers are far ahead of Lawyers and Philosophy Professors in thinking about these moral issues. .. Engineers do the math and apply it to reality.

  22. Looking at the vulnerability/multitudes of human judgement in the wake of shifting grounds of justice scenarios, a formal/rigorous training in law/justice becomes a categorical imperative not only in government institutions but across every informal justice dispensation platforms.

  23. Thank you ..

  24. This is the best lecture Iโ€™ve ever been! Bear in mind I went to one of the best universities in the UK.

  25. Wow this is 10 years old… Those kids are now grown ups woth families of their own… ๐Ÿ˜…

  26. Similar to mathematics, in which there is an order of operations, in Justice, there is a priority bracket for moral standards and ethics. Cost-benefit is to be analyzed after the moral decision has been taken. It's like the ethics is the power and the cost benefit is an addition or subtraction in the expression.
    After a moral decision has been taken, we can use utilitarian calculations to decide what is the most affordable way to implement the moral decision.
    Prioritizing utilitarianism before taking into consideration ethics and morals is like saying that 3 + 4^2 = 49
    but it's in fact 19.

  27. Cost benefit analysis "dollar value" is the most rational way. The Roman empire/republic was built on irrational ideals. Contemporary theories can't be applied – reasonably.

  28. This is much more than a lecture its a conversation which is very fruitful

  29. I would say that Shakespear has more artistic substance than the Simpsons as he was a genius of both story telling and language, but the Simpsons appeals to us because within our current culture it is much more accessible. To put it another way higher pleasures have more latent potential, but require more to appreciate that potential, whereas lower pleasure are easy to access but with low potential. For example heroin gives a lot of pleasure simply by injecting it, but spending years learning and instrument and being able to play it well is a slow and difficult process, but with much more sustained pleasure as a result, and relatively little pain compared to the consequences of heroin use. This would be the same for any lower / higher pleasure, and the reason we feel guilty or negative about indulging in lower pleasure is because we know that the more responsible thing is to be working towards higher pleasure which will, by the end of ones life amount to much greater pleasure overall than constantly pursuing lower pleasures that only satisfy you in the moment without increasing over time

  30. I think..
    Instead of beating around the bush, one should read Bhagavadgeeta to answers all these questions.

  31. Julie , rightly said there is no financial figure can be put at human life.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  32. I think most of these problems would be much easier to solve if we didn't only compare the overall pleasure of the two or more outcomes, but also the overall pain. Cause I think less pain is better than more pleasure. Example:

    Romans and Christians – With the practice of burning Christians the overall pleasure of Romans would be high as well as the overall pain of Christians.

  33. what's the difference on putting a price on a human's life and calculating how much time one person should spend in jail due to a crime he/she committed?

  34. This is genius. Its crazy how many people including myself do things for pleasure like watch funny youtube videos or watch sports, conscious that doing other things which I like doing like reading books, working the mind are a higher pleasure grasping knowledge but still end up doing the other things which are more non productive for myslef.

  35. You canโ€™t put a price on a life because lifeโ€™s have different values. One example being that a kid has a higher price while an adults have lower. The idea of a uniform price is absurd

  36. Let's hear some numbers. What value is assigned to the life of an African person that drowns in the Mediterranean while trying to reach the shores of Europe?

    Judging from how EU citizens keep electing politicians who implement laws that outlaw the current streams of African immigration to EU, I say the answer is 0.

  37. The previews have too much of a spoiler effect. It causes the effects of his stories and questions to be lessened so his points don't hit their targets. It is a little like screwing up the punch line on a joke. Sure, you need to hook your viewers into wanting to continue watching but not at the expense of getting your points across effectively. The editor's cost benefit analysis was a little off.

  38. I wonder if Chelsea Manning case is used as an example for this section now.

  39. i'm very confused how none of these harvard students brought up the fact that the fear of the majority is an old fear when it comes to government and also how slavery could be argued as justifiable via utilitarianism

  40. The problem with the whole idea of "For the Greater Good" is that most of the people who make decisions based on that idea are quite assured they are part of the "greater good". One must ask our conscience how we would have taken the same decision if we were part of the worse of minority.

  41. But at the time when you are sitting in Cansas and watching Shakesper the x-time, you wish you had taken the full collection of the Simpsons.

    Everybody values other things different.

  42. There was nothing wrong with Philip Morris's Cost and Benefit analysis. The pretentious governments appear to care about the population. They want them to work as late as possible and then just die without being a burden on the system but if that doesn't happen the old folks are shoved in over crowded retirement villages, where they will be mistreated and die ungracefully.

  43. Itโ€™s sad but in the spirit of productivity, Life can have an average value… wages, contributions to culture, and affect on the greater good of society has to be taken into account when determining value…

  44. May be human life can be given dollar value in same way company or government has given .
    How much an individual gives tax+ he makes resources+ give employment to others

  45. La verdad como se rien de la gente, racistas de verdad que asco me dan, ignorantes, se sienten de primer mundo y ni tienen seguro social, de verdad no se porque se burlan si existen partes de estados unidos que son una mierda, ya dejen de chingarnos mejor y de sus trataditos mierderos

  46. y si quieren a su presidente pues cada quien lo que quiera pero dejen estar ya y no las estupideces que han pasado, a mi no me importa la vida de Trump, me importa mi Pais, y se de Geopolitica y analizo y me da coraje estemos encanedados a este "socio" MIERDERO

  47. Ford Pinto…should be full disclosure on safety of vehicle and problem areas. In the case of the Pinto had there been disclosure the buyer might have decided to add the 12 part at his own expense. It goes to consent.

  48. When blacks aren't included highest pleasure because they cause so much pain even if it was to sleep with one because it isn't true love.

  49. It's not pleasure because the person which is the pig isn't loving you back.

  50. Morality is easy . If you couldn't defend it on the news , you where wrong. If you couldn't survive the same standard it's to high , and if you could it's to low ….. depending on the population.
    Ummmm government is a pimp and so was capitalism but the bitches have voted . Join the marines and hail Israel

  51. Wow can't believe this!…the fear factor seems more interesting to me …damn!…the most interesting!

  52. LOL there is no moral strategy that can be applied to the Ford Pinto case.

  53. Ford Pinto was selling a booby trap. They knew it would fail. It's the same as selling defective pace makers because that's all poor people can afford. You cannot knowingly sell a booby trap to anyone…LOL because I know people were victims and who was working at Ford???? Adolph?

  54. I would say that you can't put a price tag on a life. If you asked a person with 100.000.000 dollars in his account if he would give it up or get killed. He would for sure give his money up. Therefor you can't put a tag on a human life.

  55. What's so sarcastic about spending time in farms in Kansas? Can anyone explain.

  56. I think The Simpsons can be viewed as a course pleasure on one level. On another level, it regularly tackles big issues like immigration, guns, corporate downsizing, sexism, and pollution with surprising sophistication.

  57. For those who support to put a number for a human life, it is easy to argue against, that is, give him that number, and get him killed!

    One basic moral principle is, Be Reciprocal, i.e. Do unto others for what you want others do unto you.

    Many youngsters are educated under an individualism age, where most of them host a self-centered, subjective morality notion. It is not strange Harvard students who come more from Utilitarianism, as they are educated by our (adult) values exist in school, in our media and in our society, that all things can be equated to a cash value. But they just haven't put that equation to their own self and to their lived ones. This is sheer unreciprocal selfishness. Shame to us and regret to have a generation like this. Many of them will be business and government leaders in the future….

  58. Two basic moral principles: 1) A good end will never justify an evil mean. Evil is evil, no matter what good results it produces. 2) Be Reciprocal. Do unto others for what you want others do unto you.

    Use these 2 principles to examine all the cases raised up by Sanders, decisions will then get clear and easy.

  59. Generosity while teaching ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป


  61. 10:57
    ๋ถ„ํ™์ƒ‰ ์˜ท ์‹ ์•„์˜์”จ ์•„๋‹Œ๊ฐ€์š”?

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