Week 4 Class 2: Basic Rights
Criticism – premise and how premise leads to conclusion
• Missing apostrophes
• Argument spelt arguement
Problems with utilitarianism:
• Conflict with other principles
o Theories can conflict with accepted norms
• Unjust consequences
• The right thing to do is what maximizes well being
When Moral Premises Should not be Applied:
• When the application involves following a rule that can’t be followed by all.
o "It's best for me to steal your book, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do."
o Not treating others as persons, agents
o When "justice" means "just us"
o Lack of universalizability
o Violates “golden rule”
• When the application brings about unequal avoidable harm.
o Preferring own liberty over survival of others
o Neglect: allowing harm by inaction o Lack of moral concern
o Violates principle of non-maleficence(“silver rule”)
o Frequent problem in arguments against HR
Henry Shue - Basic Rights
• To call a right "basic" means that it is a necessary condition for enjoying (=having the
use & benefits of) any other rights.
• Protecting the use and enjoyment of the other rights entails protecting the basic right as
o Life, liberty, security of person? BASIC
o Not to be held in slavery? BASIC
o Fair trial? NOT BASIC
o Non-discrimination? BASIC
o Subsistence (meeting needs for life & health)? BASIC
o Property (personal possessions)? BASIC
o Property (including all assets)? NOT BASIC
o Voting? NOT BASIC
• Security as a basic right
o No one can fully enjoy any right … if someone can credibly threaten him or her
with murder, rape, beating, etc. when one tries to enjoy the right.
o Such threats to physical security are among the most serious and … widespread
hindrances to the enjoyment of any right.
o In the absence of physical security people are unable to use any other rights …
without being liable to encounter many of the worst dangers ….
o [Therefore] Absence of a r