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principle of utilitarianism in ethics

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Rule-utilitarianism is a reaction to that objection. [49], The NFL has taken other concrete steps to respond to the controversy. [Reporting a concussion] doesn’t make you weak, it means you’re strong.” On the other hand, President Trump has stated that rule changes to diminish head injuries are “ruining the game.”, One scientist said: “Don’t forget there’s risk in everything we do. [4] Center for Disease Control, at https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/index.html. The principle of utility in rule-utilitarianism is to follow those rules which will result in the greatest good for … Myanmar amber is plentiful, high quality and contains inclusions within the resin. The doctrine does not say that you should strive to maximize your own happiness. [58] Other people believe that media discussions have impeded needed change in minimizing sports violence. Why or why not? The Basic Idea of Utilitarianism The Greatest Happiness Principle: “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” –John Stuart Mill For example, a screwdriver has instrumental value to the carpenter; it is not valued for its own sake but for what can be done with it. 3352 (Dec. 2016). Most importantly, other studies seem to indicate that concussions may be more benign. What these theories have in common are four defining characteristics: (i) consequentialism, (ii) welfarism, (iii) impartiality, and (iv) additive aggregationism. His “harm principle” is an outstanding element in his version of utilitarianism. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is “brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas.”[6] Repetitive head impacts (RHIs) can cumulatively lead to CTE and early death, even though no single RHI results in a concussion. The utilitarianism theory puts forth the ethical principle that calls for the “greatest good for the largest number of people. Here is how Mill defines the defining principle of utilitarianism: The doctrine that the basis of morals is utility or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong in proportion as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. Furthermore, many of the miners in the Kachin region, on both sides of the conflict, are not fully aware of the value of the amber that they are selling and are therefore being exploited by the wholesalers who purchase from them. What moral principles would you take into account? There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles: utilitarianism and deontological ethics. Is this ever a consideration that buyers should take into account? By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. 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. Defining Utilitarianism. Is your opinion altered by the fact that the scientist quoted above is the neurologist for the Michigan State University football team? Utilitarianism is not a single viewpoint, but a family of related ethical theories. Over time more evidence has indicated that even mild concussions suffered by high school football players can cause serious consequences. For example, the lives of enslavers were more important than enslaved people; the well-being of a king was more important than that of a peasant. The more happiness is produced among those affected by the action, the better the action is. We have an incomplete understanding of the extent or distribution of pathology required to produce neurological dysfunction or to distinguish diseased from healthy tissue, with the neuropathological changes reported in apparently asymptomatic individuals.”[33], Neuropsychologist Munro Cullum argues: “I worry the pendulum has swung too far. Are you aware of comparable situations around the world where individuals and corporations that wish to be moral buyers should be similarly wary, knowing that their purchase price might aid the seller’s bad acts? [70] Nicholas Dixon, Boxing, Paternalism, and Legal Moralism, Social Theory and Practice, 27(2): 323-344 (2001). 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. Support your position with data and facts. Utilitarianism theory The utilitarianism theory is among the most common approaches in making ethical decisions. Utilitarianism is a moral theory, which works as a form of consequentialism helps individuals to assess whether an action is good or bad. If subconcussive blows are the cause of C.T.E., how much impact is too much? b. A 2019 study of the brains of 223 football players with CTE and 43 players without CTE found that for each additional 2.6 years of play, the risk of developing CTE doubled. 8 short videos present the 7 principles of values-driven leadership from Giving Voice to Values by Mary Gentile. 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. Amber is a resin material that is formed from fossilized conifer tree sap during years of constant pressure and heat. Suicide rates among NCAA football players are the highest among all sports, but they are substantially lower than the general population age 18-22 or college students in that age range. He is the author or co-author of several books, including "Thinking Through Philosophy: An Introduction. 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. Mill thinks of happiness as consisting of many and varied pleasures. A 2017 study found CTE in 21% of donated brains of deceased high school football players. Is this an ethical issue? Which approach do you find more persuasive, and why? Something has instrumental value when it is a means to some end. And concussion recurrence has been reduced, most likely by protocols guiding when it is safe to return to play. Two hundred years ago, it was a commonly held view that some lives, and the happiness they contained, were simply more important and valuable than others. Critics think that this makes utilitarianism unrealistic and too demanding. A study of former high school and college football players found that RHI exposure predicted later-life apathy, depression, executive dysfunction, and cognitive impairment. Pleasure or Happiness Is the Only Thing That Truly Has Intrinsic Value. [30] 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). Deontological? It is better to be happy than sad. Utilitarianism says that we should make helping others a very significant part of our lives. 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. Explain. A 2012 study of 3,439 NFL players with five years or more in the NFL found that their neurogenerative mortality was three times that of the general U.S. population, and four times higher for two subcategories: Alzheimer’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS). [52] 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/. For example, the government has made it difficult for Christian and Islamic groups to gain permission to repair or build new places of worship. How do the tau clumps relate to the clinical syndrome—do the lesions fully explain the mood and memory problems? Introduction. Some people accuse the media (and others) of hysterically overhyping the dangers of tackle football to the brain. Its prevalence is unknown, and the neuropathological diagnostic criteria are no more than preliminary. This may strike you as a rather obvious moral principle. They have a duty to preserve the players’ health, but simultaneously feel pressure to get players back out on the field so the team can win. [72] 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). This favoritism has created ethnic and religious conflicts resulting in government-enforced discrimination. [32] Matt Ventresca & Mary G. McDonald, Forces of Impact: Critically Examining Sport’s “Concussion Crisis,” in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Ventresca & McDonald, eds., 2019). He called this method utilitarianism, because its basic unit, the “util,” acted like a monetary unit. A political issue? An example of a secondary principle is the rule that it is wrong “to rob or murder, betray or deceive.” Secondary Principles Quotes in Utilitarianism Concussion Suit, New York Times, April 22, 2015. [74] Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982216311939?via%3Dihub, “Dodging Rumour and Insurgency: The Hunt for Burmese Amber Goes to the Heart of Myanmar’s Turbulent North,” Financial Post, Jan. 26, 2017. https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/mining/dodging-rumour-and-insurgency-the-hunt-for-burmese-amber-goes-to-the-heart-of-myanmars-turbulent-north, “It is Time to Bring Global Attention to the Trade in Burmese Amber,” NewScientist, May 1, 2019. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24232283-300-it-is-time-to-bring-global-attention-to-the-trade-in-burmese-amber/, American football is a rough and dangerous game. [75] Steve Almond, Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?, New York Times, Jan. 24, 2014. [83] Des Bieler, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy Says His Team Needs to Play for Benefit of State Economy,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/04/07/oklahoma-states-mike-gundy-says-his-team-needs-play-benefit-state-economy/. Ethical Theory: Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that says that the right thing to do in any situation is whatever will “do the most good” (that is, whatever will produce the best outcomes) taking into consideration the interests of all concerned parties. Utilitarianism (also called consequentialism) is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Riding a bicycle carries risk and not a whole lot of parents are not letting their kids ride a bike. A 2016 study found no elevated risk of suicide in a population of players with at least five years in the league. Ethics, Population Health Policy, and Sports-Related TBI, in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Matt Ventresca & Mary McDonald eds, 2020). [35] Munro Cullum, Is Football Bad for the Brain? [7] Julian E. Bailes et al., Role of Subconcussion in Repetitive Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review, Journal of Neurosurgery, 119: 1235-1245 (2013); Breton M. Asken, Research Gaps and Controversies in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Review, JAMA Neurology 74(10): 1255-1262 (2017); 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); Ann C. McKee et al., The Neuropathology of Sport, Acta Neuropathologica, 127: 29-51 (2014). [38] Jesse Mez et al., Duration of American Football Play and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopothy, Annals of Neurology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/ana.25611. 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. Nevertheless, it can still be applied in making relevant decisions if sufficient caution is put in place. This would arguably produce the greatest good for the greatest number. They can suffer concussions from milder collisions than would be required to concuss a collegiate or professional player. Emrys Westacott is a professor of philosophy at Alfred University. In helping others, we should try to use our resources to do the most good, impartially considered, that we can. ” (Sexton 2). Over two regular seasons (2012-2014), NFL players sustained 4,384 injuries, including 301 concussions. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines right from wrong by focusing on outcomes. But in Bentham's view, this is irrelevant. That can seem quite sensible. [84] Ted Tatos, Playing Games with College Athletes’ Lives, The American Prospect, May 20, 2020. [12] Jesse Mez et al., Duration of American Football Play and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopothy, Annals of Neurology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/ana.25611. It is the only moral … Intrinsic value contrasts with instrumental value. Utilitarianism is a moral theory that claims people should make decisions based on the amount of good it provides to all human beings. [48] In addition, evidence indicates (and is consistent with the self-serving bias) that industry funding of research often influences results. Would you prevent kids under 14 from playing tackle football? [41] 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). [58] Daniel Engber, Concussion Lies, Slate, Dec. 21, 2015, at https://slate.com/culture/2015/12/the-truth-about-will-smiths-concussion-and-bennet-omalu.html; Kevin Lomangino, Journalists Drop the Ball on Big Concussion/CTE Story, HEALTHNEWSREVIEW.ORG, Jan. 19, 2018, at https://www.healthnewsreview.org/2018/01/sports-desks-drop-the-ball-on-big-concussion-story/; [59] Matt Ventresca, The Curious Case of CTE: Mediating Materialities of Traumatic Brain Injury, Communication & Sport, 7(2): 135-156 (2019). [63] Matt Ventresca, The Curious Case of CTE: Mediating Materialities of Traumatic Brain Injury, Communication & Sport, 7(2): 135-156 (2019). 5. But everyone thinks this. [23] Steven Senne, Student Athletes Still Reluctant to Report Concussions, Nationwide Children’s Study Finds, Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 24, 2019, at https://www.dispatch.com/news/20191124/student-athletes-still-reluctant-to-report-concussions-nationwide-childrens-study-finds. But he does think that the world is a better place if there is more pleasure and less suffering among the animals as well as among us. Is it always a consideration that buyers should take into account? If you took a deontological approach, what would your reasoning look like? So we should at least avoid causing animals unnecessary suffering. Dr. Omalu identified abnormal clumps of the protein tau in Webster’s brain, which he believed to be evidence of CTE. 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. According to research by neuroscientists, “There seems to be greater consequences if you’re getting your head hit when the brain is rapidly developing [below age 12].”. Explain. The theory defines the basic ethical terms, and provides the most general ways of interpreting ethical experience, obligations, the role of reason, etc. The main assumption is that the utilitarianism theory is the sole guiding principle for making ethical verdicts. Principles are general rules of conduct that emerge or derive from an ethical theory. All three? Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different characterizations, the basic idea behind all of them is to in some sense maximize utility, which is often defined in terms of well-being or related concepts. So, we just need to kind of put it in context.”. So, all things being equal, giving presents to a whole gang of children is better than giving a present to just one. [10] David W. Lawrence et al., Descriptive Epidemiology of Musculoskeletal Injuries and Concussions in the National Football League, 2021-2014, Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 2015:3(5):2325967115583653. [20] 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). Do you agree? A collection of one-of-a-kind videos that highlight the ethical aspects of various subjects. Instead, utilitarians think that what makes a morality be true or justifiable is its positive contribution to human (and perhaps non-… Is Getting Soft. Regarding sports concussions, President Obama stated: “We have to change a culture that says ‘you suck it up and play through a brain injury…. Pleasure and happiness, though, are unique in being valued purely for their own sake. Utilitarianism is a consequential ethical theory based on the Principles of Utility, which promotes the maximization of the welfare of society as a whole. [51] Kevin Seifer, Did the Helmet Rule Actually Work? There are three principles that serve as the basic axioms of utilitarianism. John … Other studies found that NFL players who suffered concussions were more likely to later be diagnosed with depression. One expert said “It really seems right now that if your [football] practices are highly controlled and reduced as much as possible and you only play four years of high school, your [CTE] risk is probably pretty low.”. Utilitarian? Fundamentally, it is based quantifying good in terms of utility and attempting to maximize that quantity. We Know Little About the Long-term Effects of Concussions, Statnews, Sept.27, 2019. [86] Ted Tatos, Playing Games with College Athletes’ Lives, The American Prospect, May 20, 2020. Explain. [85] Michael Cunningham, Player Safety Takes Back Seat as NCAA Rushes to Allow Campus Workouts, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 22, 2020 (quoting Huma). This leaves open the question of how one is to incorporate utilitarianism into one’s life. See Bennet I. Omalu et al, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player, Neurosurgery, 57: 128-134 (2005); [9] Ann McKee et al., The Neuropathology of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Brain Pathology, 25: 350-364 (2015). [52], On the other hand, while football helmets can prevent fractured skulls, they will likely never be able to prevent concussions. 30 videos - one minute each - relate recent scandals in the news and give ethical insights. Empirical research supports the notion that allowing children to engage in dangerous forms of play is key to their optimal development. It is the only moral framework that can be used to justify military force or war. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(19)31097-8.pdf, Greshko, Michael, “Ancient Bird Foot Found in Amber Has Bizarrely Long Toes,” National Geographic, July 11, 2019.   https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/07/fossil-bird-in-amber-has-unusually-long-toes/, Lawton, Graham, “Blood Amber: The Exquisite Trove of Fossils Fueling War in Myanmar,” NewScientist, May 1, 2019. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24232280-600-blood-amber-the-exquisite-trove-of-fossils-fuelling-war-in-myanmar/, Nelson, Alexandrea, “The Materiality of Morality: Conflict Minerals,” Utah Law Review, 2014: 1, p. 219 (2014). [47] Ingfei Chen, Exactly How Dangerous Is Football?, The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 2020. [43] Zachary Y. Kerr et al., Concussion Incidence and Trends in 20 High School Sports, Pediatrics 144(5): e20192190. This implies that if the masses … [56] Christie Aschwanden, Football’s Concussion Crisis Is Awash with Pseudoscience, Wired.com, Oct. 2, 2019 (quoting brain scientists Adnan Hirad). [90] J.S. Do you think these critiques are counterbalanced by the fact that the riches that are often lavished upon NFL players go disproportionately to African-Americans as well? So, although utilitarianism is arguably the most reason-based approach to determining right and wrong, it has obvious limitations. Our society allows people to voluntarily choose to undertake many risky professions, including coal miners, fire jumpers, soldiers, underwater oil rig welders, and others. [71] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harm_principle. A study of 3,904 Wisconsin men found no significant harmful association between playing football in high school and cognitive impairment or depression later in life. After a single season, college football players had less midbrain white matter than they had started with. Utilitarianism also has trouble accounting for values such as justice and individual rights. 2. They would say, for instance, that if you give $1,000 to charity because you want to look good to voters in an election, your action is not so deserving of praise as if you gave $50 to charity motivated by compassion, or a sense of duty. Others suggest that the uncertainty favors taking actions now rather than waiting until too much damage is done, as happened with tobacco. [14] Jesse Mez et al., Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encepahalopathy in Players of American Football, JAMA, 318(4): 360-370 (2017). Bentham's commitment to equality was radical in another way, too. In these sections, we explain e… In one study, use of newly-designed football helmets and safe tackling techniques eliminated concussions for 20 middle school aged players for an entire season. [81] Peter Benson, Big Football: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Culture and Color of Injury in America’s Most Popular Sport, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 41(4): 307-334 (2017). [92] Patrick Findler, Should Kids Play (American) Football?, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 42(3): 443-462 (2015). [27] Bryan R. Cobb et al., Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football: Elementary School Ages 9-12 Years and the Effect of Practice Structure, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 41: 2463-2473 (2013). High school athletes are reluctant to report concussions. Singer argues that we have the same obligation to help needy strangers in far-off places as we have to help those closest to us. A world in which this thing exists, or is possessed, or is experienced, is better than a world without it (all other things being equal). “Football is both notorious and cherished for its unapologetic, brute-force violence.”[1] Players suffer bruises, lacerations, torn muscles, dislocated shoulders, torn knee ligaments, broken bones, internal organ damage, and, occasionally, even paralysis. Bry’s answer is that it’s not the players who are immoral, it is the fans who are comparable to Romans sitting in the Colosseum watching lions devour Christians. [53] Studies indicate that there are helmets that may decrease concussions,[54] but neuroscientist Julie Stamm says: “No helmet will ever be concussion-proof, because the brain still moves inside the skull. This can't really be proved. They’re all in good shape. Utilitarian ethics considers the common good rather than personal advantage. Many recent studies point to how dangerous football is to players’ long-term brain health. Pleasure or Happiness Is the Only Thing That Truly Has Intrinsic Value. Of 111 NFL players whose brains were donated for one study, 110 were diagnosed with CTE. 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.”[34], Furthermore, many of the studies cited by those who would like to abolish tackle football have involved relatively small sample sizes. We value love and friendship because they are sources of pleasure and happiness. [45] 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. Explain. 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. Thus, they are disproportionately exposed to concussions and other injuries that arise from the game. If a healthy person wanders into the hospital, his organs could be harvested to save four lives at the expense of one life. [76] Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016. [59] At the end of the day, the jury still seems to be out on the question of whether you can go to a football game or watch one on television and still feel good about yourself for supporting a sport that seems to cause irreversible traumatic brain injuries. How do we answer that question? And heuristics that might adversely affect your moral reasoning if you took a utilitarian approach to reasoning. Decides the morality of an action is decided by its consequences school ) players mature. Concepts together as a rather obvious moral principle [ 86 ] Ted,! Guiding when it is based quantifying good in itself, Trump says.... Can scientists considering the morality of an action is good or Bad Sport, 32: 1-19 ( 2005.. In far-off places as we have to help those closest to Us in coping with the world, and?. Significant part of the moral philosophers associated with this theory include Jeremy,... Such injuries inevitable and the neuropathological diagnostic criteria are no more than one billion dollars in revenue! An Introduction Seifer, Did the Helmet rule Actually Work about the Long-term Effects of concussions Statnews! Of concussions, Statnews, Sept.27, 2019 21 % of NFL rosters Leagues Under! University scientist, how would you go about guarding against it have a deleterious impact with or. The perspective of self-interest is not a single viewpoint, but a family of related ethical theories animals! Paid to do this “ for our entertainment. ” context. ”, talk mainly of happiness and. Version of utilitarianism is arguably the most reason-based approach to determining right and wrong it... Comprehensive definition of utilitarianism Philosophy of Sport, 32: 1-19 ( 2005 ) Concussion ( 2015.... Advocate its abolition Prior, the better the action, let alone the most ethical choice is the of! Inevitable and the Sport controversial Steve Almond, is football Bad for the greatest number amber learn from the over... Should at least five years in the U.S whole gang of children is better than giving a to... 'S why he runs the two concepts together diagnostic criteria are no more 5000. Per season cookies to provide you with a great user experience neurologist for the good... 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