By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Rather, your happiness is just that of one person and carries no special weight. In deciding whether it is ethical for you to buy amber from Myanmar, do you need to guard against the self-serving bias unduly affecting your decision?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harm_principle. Do you agree? So, we just need to kind of put it in context.”. He called this method utilitarianism, because its basic unit, the “util,” acted like a monetary unit. b. 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. In the wake of the recent pandemic, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy said “In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them.  Mayo Clinic, at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370921. 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. Do you think this an ethical issue or just a policy issue?  There is also evidence that the NFL sought to influence the findings of some of the research it funded.  Atheendar S. Venkataramani et al, Association Between Playing American Football and Long-term Mortality, JAMA, 319(8): 800-806 (2018).  James P. Kelly et al., Concussion in Sports: Guidelines for the Prevention of Catastrophic Outcome, JAMA, 266(20): 2867-2869 (1991). 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.  Kathleen Bachynski & Daniel S. Goldberg, Time Out: NFL Conflicts of Interest with Public Health Efforts to Prevent TBI, Injury Prevention, at https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/24/3/180.full; Ingfei Chen, Exactly How Dangerous Is Football?, The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 2020; Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth (2013). For example, assume a hospital has four people whose lives depend upon receiving organ transplants: a heart, lungs, a kidney, and a liver. 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.  Ingfei Chen, Exactly How Dangerous Is Football?, The New Yorker, Feb. 1, 2020. For many years this mining area has been protected by the Kachin Independence Army. The field is surprisingly new. A documentary and six short videos reveal the behavioral ethics biases in super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's story. See also Ann C. McKee et al., The Spectrum of Disease in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Brain, 136(1)): 43-64 (2013)(study of donated brains of 64 athletes found “the stage of [CTE] correlated with increased duration of football play, survival after football and age at death” for 34 football players). Many people who are in favor of abolishing football or significantly reforming the way it is played are pro-choice when it comes to abortion, minor drug use, and assisted suicide. Utilitarianism gets its name from the term "utility," which in this context does not mean "useful" but, rather, means pleasure or happiness.  Nicholas Dixon, Boxing, Paternalism, and Legal Moralism, Social Theory and Practice, 27(2): 323-344 (2001). 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. 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.  Everett J. Lehman et al., Neurodegenerative Causes of Death Among Retired National Football League Players, Neurology, 79(19): 1970-1974 (2012).  Munro Cullum, Is Football Bad for the Brain?  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/;  Matt Ventresca, The Curious Case of CTE: Mediating Materialities of Traumatic Brain Injury, Communication & Sport, 7(2): 135-156 (2019). In the second chapter, Mill formulates a single ethical principle, the principle of utility or greatest-happiness principle, from which he says all utilitarian ethical principles are derived: "The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals utility, or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of … We Know Little About the Long-term Effects of Concussions, Statnews, Sept.27, 2019. He doesn't say that we should treat animals as if they were human. Pleasure or Happiness Is the Only Thing That Truly Has Intrinsic Value. His “harm principle” is an outstanding element in his version of utilitarianism.  Such proteins develop in tangles that slowly strangle neurons and, consequently, inhibit brain function..  Daniel Goldberg, What Does the Precautionary Principle Demand of Us? Some argue against paternalism and in favor of individual choice, believing that adults (at least) should be able to choose to engage in boxing (and presumably to play football) despite its potentially adverse consequences for brain health.  Jesse Mez et al., Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encepahalopathy in Players of American Football, JAMA, 318(4): 360-370 (2017). A study of former NFL players found that those who began playing football before age 12 tended to show greater later-life cognitive impairments as compared to those who began after age 12. There is no official state religion but the Myanmar government favors the majority Theravada Buddhism population. Utilitarianism gets its name … Myanmar classifies amber as a gemstone, not a fossil, so it can be legally removed from the country, unlike fossils that have restrictions on removal.  In addition, evidence indicates (and is consistent with the self-serving bias) that industry funding of research often influences results. Discussion Questions on High Schools & Colleges, Discussion Questions on Youth Leagues (Under 14). Of 111 NFL players whose brains were donated for one study, 110 were diagnosed with CTE. Daniel Goldberg observes that “there is also a crucial social and political question that is not simply a function of that empirical evidence base: to what risks is it acceptable to expose youths and adolescents?”. , The NFL has taken other concrete steps to respond to the controversy. If subconcussive blows are the cause of C.T.E., how much impact is too much? One suggested solution to the concussion problem is to outlaw helmets on the theory that players will be forced to reduce headfirst collisions and other trauma-causing actions.  Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016. 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.  Christie Aschwanden, Football’s Concussion Crisis Is Awash with Pseudoscience, Wired.com, Oct. 2, 2019 (quoting brain scientists Adnan Hirad). Amber is a resin material that is formed from fossilized conifer tree sap during years of constant pressure and heat.  Dave Bry, American Football is Too Dangerous, and It Should Be Abolished, The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4, 2016. But when it was put forward by Bentham (in the form, "everyone to count for one; no-one for more than one") it was quite radical. Some of the moral philosophers associated with this theory include Jeremy Bentham, David Hume, Henry Sidgwick and many others. 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 Virtue ethics is a moral theory that is concerned with the moral character or goodness of the individual carrying out an action while utilitarianism is the moral theory that states an action is right if it is useful or is beneficial for a majority.  Matt Ventresca & Mary G. McDonald, Forces of Impact: Critically Examining Sport’s “Concussion Crisis,” in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Ventresca & McDonald, eds., 2019).  Christie Aschwanden, Football’s Concussion Crisis is Awash with Pseudoscience, Wired.com, Oct. 2, 2019.  Thomas L. Schwenk, Depression and Pain in Retired Professional Football Players, Medicine & Science in Sports & Leisure, 39(4): 599-605 92007)(but finding that when coupled with difficult with pain, problems with sleep and social relations often followed).  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. And for the same reason, a helmet alone will not prevent CTE.” Furthermore, while the NFL has banned helmet-to-helmet hits, these are neither the only nor the most common cause of concussions. “Football is both notorious and cherished for its unapologetic, brute-force violence.” Players suffer bruises, lacerations, torn muscles, dislocated shoulders, torn knee ligaments, broken bones, internal organ damage, and, occasionally, even paralysis. Utility is often defined as happiness or pleasure, although there are other variants, such as the satisfaction of preferences, or preference utilitarianism. 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.”, Furthermore, many of the studies cited by those who would like to abolish tackle football have involved relatively small sample sizes. Intrinsic value contrasts with instrumental value. 2. Utilitarianism is a consequential ethical theory based on the Principles of Utility, which promotes the maximization of the welfare of society as a whole.  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. Reducing tackling in practices has reduced overall concussion numbers among high school players, even though the number of concussions in games has risen slightly. The main assumption is that the utilitarianism theory is the sole guiding principle for making ethical verdicts. 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. A policy issue? However, many such studies were funded or carried out by the NFL, owners of NFL franchises, universities that earn millions of dollars from football, and other interested parties.  Munro Cullum, Is Football Bad for the Brain? Daniel Goldberg, What Does the Precautionary Principle Demand of Us? Why or why not? In the realm of ethics, this means rules that people should follow to fulfill the first ethical principle of maximizing utility or promoting the general happiness. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines right from wrong by focusing on outcomes. The government then forced more than 5000 inhabitants from their homes and villages, as well as from the amber mines.  The NFL has also changed rules to discourage helmet-to-helmet contact, and has instituted protocols for safely returning concussed players to the field. We value love and friendship because they are sources of pleasure and happiness. A 2017 study found CTE in 21% of donated brains of deceased high school football players. Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, argued that schools should be required to fully inform [college] players about the risks of playing football now, including information about their susceptibilities to underlying health conditions. As already pointed out in the first section of this paper, utilitarianism theory is a mere subset of welfarsim. A public health professor has said that letting pre-teens play tackle football is “an abdication of moral responsibility for children’s welfare.”. Defining Utilitarianism. Gammon, Katharine, “The Human Cost of Amber,” The Atlantic, Aug. 2, 2019. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/amber-fossil-supply-chain-has-dark-human-cost/594601/, Grimaldi, David, “Amber,” Current Biology Magazine. This yellow to reddish-brown translucent material has been used in a number of ways, including to make jewelry, in Egyptian burials, and in the healing arts. Pleasure or Happiness Is the Only Thing That Truly Has Intrinsic Value. 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].”. Being Your Best Self, Part 1: Moral Awareness, Being Your Best Self, Part 2: Moral Decision Making, Being Your Best Self, Part 3: Moral Intent, Being Your Best Self, Part 4: Moral Action, Ethical Leadership, Part 1: Perilous at the Top, Ethical Leadership, Part 2: Best Practices, Curbing Corruption: GlaxoSmithKline in China. Moral Philosophy According to Immanuel Kant, What Is the Common Good in Political Science? However, the science in this area is truly not settled. 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. Ethics, Population Health Policy, and Sports-Related TBI, in Sociolcultural Examinations of Sports Concussions (Matt Ventresca & Mary McDonald eds, 2020). This has led some to suggest that the NFL is a modern plantation.  Professor Goldberg argues that “there is little evidence that such incremental changes [e.g., in tackling techniques] have a substantial risk-reducing effect.”. Others suggest that the uncertainty favors taking actions now rather than waiting until too much damage is done, as happened with tobacco. After a single season, college football players had less midbrain white matter than they had started with. To say that something has intrinsic value means that it is simply good in itself. That insight is that morally appropriatebehavior will not harm others, but instead increase happiness or‘utility.’ What is distinctive about utilitarianismis its approach in taking that insight and developing an account ofmoral evaluation and moral direction that expands on it. Utilitarianism is not a single viewpoint, but a family of related ethical theories. The perspective of self-interest is not totally lost; the self simply finds its place among other people affected by a moral decision. That's why he runs the two concepts together.  Julie Mack, What Parents Need to Know about Football, Concussions and Head Injuries, mlive.com, Nov. 24, 2019, at https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/11/what-parents-need-to-know-about-football-and-head-injuries.html (quoting neuroscientist Julie Stamm). Five million cribs had been sold. 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). Rule-utilitarianism is a reaction to that objection. New Yorker writer Ingfei Chen observed that Fisher-Price had been required to recall a collapsible crib that was associated with 32 infant deaths. 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