To register for the 2015 course, visit https://www.edx.org/course/justice-harvardx-er22-1x-0.
PART ONE: 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.
The Christians in ancient Rome tried to destroy the Roman churches, and yeah I think they should have had the freedom of speech and religion. Also I believe the Christians had a choice between being a gladiator or being beheaded and they chose to be gladiators.
This is a great lecture. It's very good to think about so many shades of grey between right and wrong. I wish I had had professors and classes like that during my course in University in Brazil! Thank you for sharing with people from all over the world such good opportunities to learn!
The question of cost-benefit analysis will be on whose cost and whose benefit it represents.
In fact, Ford's Pintos case of a car company would be a cost and benefit calculated by the company.
The death of one man is $ 200,000. I am confident that this will be the average mortgage payment amount at that time.
Because if you go without any problems, that $ 200,000 is the biggest loss the car company makes.
The same is true of injuries. The $ 67,000 is the third of the quarterly coverage.
Is it so? If you do well in a country with an average per capita income of $ 20,000, will you earn only $ 200,000 in income that you have worked on forty years from 20 to 60 years of retirement? And what is the income of the added value he creates in his country?
This is not only the individual, but also the ignorance of social and national losses, and it is easy to ignore the inconvenience caused by the flaws of the car that you have created, and if you suffer the loss of life, you have to pay the appropriate premiums.
The idea of doing business within the country as an individual and earning the best possible benefits with minimal costs is indeed a parasitic idea.
From watching this series, it sounds like pure democracy is bad because the majority can take the rights away from the minority. No wonder the forefathers were against it and set us up as a constitutional republic to protect the rights of the minority.
*Of the name of this "utility" maximazed, entire nations were destroyed in past. The consequences of this, even now, we can see it. Conqueros thoughts were wrong? Some of them really thought that they had done right! So, who decide what utility is?? This "happiness is momentary, is unreal?, how extended is it? or how is their reach, their scope, assuming that exist? is just only for humankind? or depending on wich kind of "happines" or "utility is? Why do you think that you can touch the trouth and know what "utility" is?*
I'm only 15 minutes in but I feel this lecture is ummm misleading is the word I'll use. I don't think these cases are proof of moral utilitarianism. Im just guessing but I believe the value of life calculated by the businesses is the average monetary amount they would have to pay in a lawsuit, but this is the risk for the buisness. Not the greater good. Like in the car scenario. They came to number 200,000 I think. That might be what you got sued for but you aren't calculating the cost to the society just for yourself. If you wanted to be utilitarians you would have to calculate lost wages for the family from dead or paralyzed individuals, insurance companies raising prices for everyone, and even the cost to taxpayers for the impending court cases to pay the overtime for cops and other public servants. Utilitarianism is the lowest risk for the best reward for all. Not just yourself. so this company is not moral at all. Utilitarianism or not.
But I just thought of something. Utilitarianism probably can't work in a capitalist society. Because to be utilitarians businesses would have to always think about what's best for society, and that could cost them money multiple times ending in bankruptcy, but in an idea society where supplies were traded freely and everyone was always always trying to benifet the society we wouldn't need silly ideas like money. I mean really we are thinking about the idea of a monetary value on life. Life is real. Money is not. It is an idea. An idea our culture has raised us with so we can imagine no other way of living. But if I cut down a tree it's worth a couple bucks if the federal reserve cuts down a tree they can turn it to a million bucks. So we are arguing wether that tree is worth a life.
9:30 It's not the cost: benefit analysis that's at fault, it's the transparency of the company. If people knew they were getting into a more dangerous car the cost for the company would be greater because the demand for the car would decrease. Plus if someones were to actually have a fair representation of that car's safety in comparison to others, and he still chose that car, can we still blame the car companies for the extra damage done?
I don't understand why people didn't question Ford's valuation of the human life in the sense that the public had no input in determining that value. Only a couple hundred grand? Depending on a person's occupation that could be a year or two of earnings; what about the rest of that person's life?
Well, In the case of the Ford car, I agree that there might be hundreds of vulnerabilities different from this one. Cost-benefit analysis on each of them ensures that price of the car remains affordable to the maximum number of people. Well, one possible way out is to manufacture the car in multiple variants with increasing safety standards. But at the same time, If something is likely to happen, meaning high-risk probability, then that must be addressed no matter what the cost-benefit analysis is.
Chase mosquitoes away , Asians and maybe ancient people used Hoit- Bul( as Statue 🗽 and Olympic game light) indicates benefits. Koreans use burning *Yak- Ssuk* to heal invisible wounds to human 👀. Just drinking Cola drains air down to flow along. I thought same way until micro electric charged group thrived chase after cold light not hot 🚬.
Only the guy at 0:53 has been awake all night doing his homework, thats why he is feeling sleepy in the class. The rest have just shown up without even bothering to glance at what was taught yesterday.
Unfortunate that the role John Stewart Mill played in advancing colonial annexations to further British interest by immiserating India was not reflected upon: all whilst he advocated for utilitarianism! The latter half of the discussion on being Socrates vs a fool. I would argue this school of thought would allow those practicising utilitarianism to determing who are fools and who are Socrates according to their interests?
Basically the issue is "right to choose" at all times a person has to be given the right to choose and if that's is taken by a company or another person without consulting the person affected by it, that is the offence.
So in summary of all that babble in Episode 1 and Episode 2: "Does the greater good of society outweigh the rights of the individual?" and the answer (through discussion of philosophical-hypothetical cases and quasi case law) is "It depends" on the context and circumstances. Pfft... Don't need to go to Harvard to work that out.
Seems to me that utilitarianism is a free pass for egocentric behavior. In the moment, such as the case of cellphones whilst driving, the individual is allowed to pursue their own goal, to the potential death of the other people. Is this not an in-built contradiction? Or at least a faulty product sold by a dodgy sales rep?
money has different value to different people. one can give away 1 dollar same way as somebody can 100 dollars. This happens for every single person too, when you are young kid 50 cents can feel a lot but 30+ 20 dollars might not be so much at all. Therefore you can't really justify a dollar value to a human life. But when there is no option, you can only make some situations more fair by giving a life a money value.
About the car safety. A buyer should have gotten information about the unsafe feature when money was exchanged. If problem wasn't known before hand there should have been some sort of repercussions to fix the problems
Thank You Very Much Harvard form IRAN for allowing the people of the World be able to enjoy the BEST LECTURES IN LAW by the Best Professor and Very Smart Students contribution during lecture; and as it has been said correctly " Im not the same person with those mentality, after hearing all new views to different issues...
What success is greater than mutually understanding valid Love within your Human Nature Pattern?
The ultimate climb/war that is fought anywhere on earth can always be reduced to the selfless circle of "Love" vs the 1way linear selfish "Greed."
Ps. Love is a continual trust in the variable choice as Hope (not its result) for Happiness as peace. _Reciprocal selfless Circle
(Human Nature Pattern) https://www.facebook.com/notes/eternal-optimism/eo-pursuit-of-happiness-1st-read/10159904079405720/
Treat others the same to make the selfless circle in love for global peace.
Ps. Race consists of competitors trying to win 1st place; colour does not measure any performance skills. Black and White are not even valid colours. _7 Original Rainbow Colours
I'd say that the cost benefit analysis for a human life would have to be the responsibility to take action on the lowest possible cost/life anywhere in the country first.
If one change that costs 20k/life for society wouldn't have been implemented, you can't reasonably expect to have a company make the change that costs 200k/life for society.
Like imagine that a dangerous traffic situation could be changed for 1 million which would save 4 people/year and it's expected to stay that way for 50 years, then that's a pricetag of 5000/life.
Then it's morally objectionable to invest 100k or more for each life in any other way because it would've been better spent on all the cheaper alternatives that saves lives.
I'm amazed by how many people are blatantly knocked out during this lecture. Some even with their mouth wide open! There should be someone waking people up or making them leave from the room or something. Imagine sitting next to someone snoring while you are trying to pay attention?
For the government and you buy a new car you don't get the natural title the state get the original title and you get a copy of it and the state takes control over your automobile that you thought was your but you register it over to the state for there plates like i said the right to travel is real you don't need to register and insurance your household idume if you are not for hire you don't need a license to be regulated got it you don't wont to contract with a fictional entity's that have no power over a living humen being.look up the right to travel federal case law you have the right and you should use your rights don't use there regulations to be controlled.never give consent to thugs like government and states and kangaroo court's.
Take the number of vehicles in the field, A. Multiply it by the probable rate of failure, B. Multiply the result by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A x B x C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."
With regards to Utilitarianism and the cost-benefit analysis question on life, I would venture to say that the PRICE of a human life has and is established by the court itself on a daily basis; however, it seems to me that we're looking at the whole issue in reverse. The actual VALUE of a human life is increasingly complex and cannot accurately be weighed in pecuniary interests.
Oddly, we do have something to measure a human life against, that being another human life. For instance in the movie Crimson Tide, after their submarine is damaged, the Captain(Denzel Washington) is forced to decide between closing off a compartment quickly filling with water before two of the crew are able to escape or possibly not being able to close the hatch and the entire sub sinking, ie. he must weigh the chance of saving two men vs. the risk to the rest of the crew.
Morally, the question then becomes how many human lives will be risked by installing the Pinto part vs. how many lives will be saved. Capitalism has its place, but it should never be made to devour the thing that created it.
really like the lectures and really grateful for the public access, just to add I'm so glad I do not attend Harvard for I am passionately against prof of this sort, creativity in place of analyticity will drive philosophy backwards or stagnate it altogether
Look at the cultural mind control expressed in the 1930’s value experiment... people are so deeply indoctrinated into valuing federal reserve notes as something immensely desirable that they would actually strangle the life from a sentient being in order to get them. People are willing to be bought, and at ANY price this is a complete lack of self-respect. I wouldn’t do any of those things for 10 billion dollars; not even move to Kansas, which is seemingly moral until you realize it violates your free will and thus degrades your humanity. And we wonder why the world is in chaos. Bentham is a monster, and his philosophy not only abides, but implicitly prescribes slavery.
I will just say this one thing , a tad off topic , but ... In my opinion Mel Gibbson did a fantastic job all through this play ..UNTIL he came to Hamlet's self abuse soliloquy : It was almost mechanical and contrived for that : then the play continues on the 'upswing' performance-wise. Anyone else agree ????
The question in it self is a trap. The answer lies beyond. You can not put a price on someone's life however you can put one on yours. For example when you buy some cigarettes you are in fact putting a price tag on your own life expectancy. Would you rather have 40 years with the pleasure of smoking or 60 without? The same logic can be applied to buying cars. If you buy a shitty car with less security features than a expansive one, you are putting more value in the price difference ( and what you can do with the money) than your chances of surviving an accident if this would ever happen to you.
But what about the corporation then? Can they put a price on someone's life? No, however who's says they do? When corporation do cost benefit analysis they aren't putting a price on someone else life but on the consequences of their actions and how it would affect theirs. The price on each possible casualty is valued with respect to what society thinks a human life is worth (example: previous rulings).
The Ford Pinto calculus is not an utilitarian calculus, although it is a form of consequentialism. It doesn't take into account pain and happiness, only profits and costs. It's egoism.
As for the smoke company calculus, I think we should be suspicious of the calculus provided because the company would never say anything other than ''the Republic is better off if people smoke''. What they ignore is that there are not only healthcare costs on looking for those people, but also that they dying is a loss to their economy and productivity.
Good talk. Who learns from Law cases? No lesson is learned. Money is all about Ownership and exchanging value. Governments calculate a minimum cost in association to citizens' violations. They only legislate for changes they feel will create some strategic monetary increase. Because too many citizens only feel violated when the Monetary CONTROLLED Democracy effects them. Monetary thinking is crippling Society.
How can people regain a Democracy?
part one is frustrating to watch because it's all based on a false statement: sandel said these companies were putting a dollar-value on a human life. that's just not true. they were estimating what amount they would have to pay on average as a settlement. there's a reason why it's called a settlement: because it can't bring back the person that died, they're irreplacable. it can merely settle a case and make things easier to the family of the person that died. sandel shouldn't throw around such logical fallacies; I mean, what sense does it make to say they put a dollar-value on a human life if this value only becomes relevant in the case of death? If my life is worth 2 million, hand me the money now that I'm young and poor! see the problem?
by saying that they can settle at X amount per person they're saying that human life's worth on average X dollars. Nobody will pay you or your family for the pleasure of killing you, so you can't ask for money without giving them your life, which is the same as putting a price on life. Insurance companies do this by basically calculating probabilities of fatal accidents so that they always charge you more than one's life insurance so they're also in a way putting a price on human life. There are so many ways to put it in economic terms. Not saying it is correct though.
My name is Lukman.... i study colors and i have done that for more than 8 years now. I found meanings and answers in them. most answers people need to know.And Yes to common human behavior and crime. I have the answers i am telling you!!!
Isn't it possible that the value of a life can be modeled as a random variable with variance? And take decisions based on significance? Because it is perfectly reasonable to model parameters stochastic all in engineering and any design failure that arises is only because of a really small chance. And if policy like the Ford pinto one was made in the same way, the chance of the final decision resulting in a negative consequence will be something of a chance rather than the norm.