Utilitarianism on Rights - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 106
Rights/Utilitarianism/Gaus: Utilitarians, or more broadly, consequentialists, have spent a good deal of effort investigating in what ways personal rights might enter into a utilitarian system. Sen (1990)(1) offers a version of consequentialism that takes rights satisfaction as part of the utility of a state of affairs (cf. Scanlon, 1977(2); Nozick, 1974(3): 166). Mill’s complicated utilitarianism – which seems to integrate rules into the concept of a morality – has often been used as a model for utilitarian rights (Lyons, 1978(4); Frey, 1984(5)) (...).
Russell Hardin (1988(6); 1993) has advocated an ‘institutional utilitarianism’ that takes account of knowledge problems in designing utilitarian institutions, which he offers as an alternative to both act and rule utilitarianism. According to Hardin, ‘[w]e need an institutional structure of rights or protections because not everyone is utilitarian or otherwise moral and because there are severe limits to our knowledge of others, whose interests are therefore likely to be best fulfilled in many ways if they have substantial control over the fulfillment.’
Gaus I 107
That, he adds, ‘is how traditional rights should be understood’ (1988(6): 78). >Rights/Consequentialism.
1. Sen, Amartya K. (1990) ‘Rights consequentialism’. In Jonathan Glover, ed., Utilitarianism and its Critics. London: Macmillan, 111–18.
2. Scanlon, Thomas (1977) ‘Rights, goals and fairness’. Erkenntnis, 11 (May): 81–95.
3. Nozick, Robert (1974) Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic.
4. Lyons, David (1978) ‘Mill’s theory of justice’. In A. I. Goldman and J. Kim, eds, Values and Morals. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1–20.
5. Frey, R. G. (1984) ‘Act-utilitarianism, consequentialism and moral rights’. In R. G. Frey, ed., Utility and Rights. Oxford: Blackwell, 61–95.
6. Hardin, Russell (1988) Morality within the Limits of Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. „The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms.“ In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.
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Brocker I 601
Rights/Utilitarianism: for utilitarianism, maximising the overall well-being is the central objective. Rights, for example in the form of ownership guarantees, can also benefit the overall welfare. It can never be excluded that sacrificing fundamental individual interests of individuals or groups could increase the overall benefit.
DworkinVsUtilitarianism: Rights always protect the individual with reference to fundamental and central interests.(1) See >Utilitarianism/Dworkin.
1.cf. Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, Cambridge, Mass. 1977 (erw. Ausgabe 1978). Dt.: Ronald Dworkin, Bürgerrechte ernstgenommen, Frankfurt/M. 1990,
Bernd Ladwig, „Ronald Dworkin, Bürgerrechte ernstgenommen“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018