Saturday, May 06, 2006

Gibbard on Utilitarian Rights

If, then, you are a utilitarian who thinks the facts of social psychology are as I have been supposing, here is why you should accept certain principles of individual human rights, advocate them, and foster your own commitment to them. The facts I have been supposing are these: for the most part, violations of the commonly recognized core of human rights detract from the general good. There may well be exceptions, but even with careful investigation, there will be much disagreement on what those exceptions are. Moreover, even if we can agree on a few exceptions, a principle without qualifications to provide for those exceptional cases may have a much stronger natural appeal [and hence be more reliably followed] than a principle meticulously qualified...

From Allan Gibbard's 'Utilitarianism and Rights'. See also: Indirect Utilitarianism.

1 comment:

  1. Cutting to the chase - If he made the same argument to prove a religion it would probably get torn apart.

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