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Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 02 - Putting A Price Tag On Life

« Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 01 - The Moral Side Of Murder

Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 03 - Free To Choose »

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Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do?

Lecture Two

Putting A Price Tag On Life

Today, companies and governments often use Jeremy Benthams utilitarian logic under the name of cost-benefit analysis. Sandel presents some contemporary cases in which cost-benefit analysis was used to put a dollar value on human life. The cases give rise to several objections to the utilitarian logic of seeking the greatest good for the greatest number. Should we always give more weight to the happiness of a majority, even if the majority is cruel or ignoble? Is it possible to sum up and compare all values using a common measure like money?

 PART TWO: HOW TO MEASURE PLEASURE

Sandel introduces J.S. Mill, a utilitarian philosopher who attempts to defend utilitarianism against the objections raised by critics of the doctrine. Mill argues that seeking the greatest good for the greatest number is compatible with protecting individual rights, and that utilitarianism can make room for a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Mills idea is that the higher pleasure is always the pleasure preferred by a well-informed majority. Sandel tests this theory by playing video clips from three very different forms of entertainment: Shakespeares Hamlet, the reality show Fear Factor, and The Simpsons. Students debate which experience provides the higher pleasure, and whether Mills defense of utilitarianism is successful.

Other videos in channel "Lecture Hall":

Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 01 - The Moral Side Of Murder Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 01 - The Moral Side Of Murder Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 02 - Putting A Price Tag On Life Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 02 - Putting A Price Tag On Life Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 03 - Free To Choose Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 03 - Free To Choose
Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 04 - This Land Is My Land Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 04 - This Land Is My Land Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 05 - Hired Guns Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 05 - Hired Guns
Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 06 - Mind Your Motive Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 06 - Mind Your Motive Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 07 - A Lesson In Lying Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 07 - A Lesson In Lying Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 08 - What's A Fair Start Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 08 - What's A Fair Start
Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 09 - Arguing Affirmative Action Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 09 - Arguing Affirmative Action Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 10 - The Good Citizen Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 10 - The Good Citizen
Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 11 - The Claims Of Community Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 11 - The Claims Of Community Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 12 - Debating Same-Sex Marriage Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? 12 - Debating Same-Sex Marriage  
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