Medical Ethics Harootunian 10/17/11 2 For suppose some condition about minimizing the (weighted) amount of violation of rights is built into the desirable end state to be achieved. We then would have something like a “utilitarianism of rights”; violations of rights (to be minimized) merely would replace the total happiness of the relevant end state in the utilitarian structure. (pg. 28) The proposed theory here is just a toy-theory that Nozick is using for the purpose for illustration. This theory is goal-directed. The goal – the end state to be achieved – is the minimization of rights-violations. The minimization of rights-violations replaces the utilitarian end state’s maximization of the net happiness – we’re now maximizing the non-violation of rights. But this goal-directed theory that really takes ri ghts seriously is structurally flawed. Why? It’s structurally flawed because it might be that we achieve our goal of minimizing rights-violations in the society by violating someone’s rights ! This is Nozick’s point with the example of the rampaging mob: For example, violating someone’s rights might deflect others from their intended action of gravely violating rights, or might remove their motive for doing so, or might divert their attention, and so on. A mob rampaging through a part of town killing and burning will violate the rights of those living there. Therefore, someone might try to justify his
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