Business ethics
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Business Ethics. Lecture 3 3.1 Rights and Duties. The Concept of a Right. A right is an individual’s entitlement to something The entitlement (privilege) is called a ___________, when the right is derived from a legal system

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Business Ethics

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Business ethics

Business Ethics

Lecture 3

3.1 Rights and Duties


The concept of a right

The Concept of a Right

  • A right is an individual’s entitlement to something

  • The entitlement (privilege) is called a ___________, when the right is derived from a legal system

  • The American Constitution, for example, guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of speech, and commercial statutes specify that each party to a valid contract has a right to whatever performance the contract requires from the other person.Legal rights are limited to the particular jurisdiction within which the legal system is in force


The concept of a right1

The Concept of a Right

  • Entitlements can also derive from a system of moral standards independently of any particular legal system.

  • ___________________ or ___________________ are based on moral norms and principles that specify that all human beings are permitted or empowered to do something or are entitled to have something done for them.


The concept of a right2

The Concept of a Right

  • Moral rights , unlike legal rights, are usually thought of as being universal as they are rights that all human beings of every nationality process to an equal extent simply by virtue of being human beings.

  • Example, humans have a moral right not to be tortured , then this is a right that human beings of every nationality have regardless of the legal system under which they live.


The concept of a right3

The Concept of a Right

  • Moral Rights are tightly correlated with duties. One person’s moral right can be defined in terms of the moral duties other people have toward that person.

  • Moral rights impose correlative duties on others – either duties of noninterference or duties of positive performance.


Negative positive rights

Negative & Positive Rights

  • _____________ rights:

    • Its members can be defined wholly in terms of the duties others have to not interfere in certain activities of the person who holds a given right.

  • Example: if I have a right to privacy, this means that every other person, including my employer has the duty not to intervene in my private affairs.


The concept of a right4

The Concept of a Right

  • The correlative duties imposed by a right may fall not on any specific individual , but on all the members of a group


Negative positive rights1

Negative & Positive Rights

  • ______________ rights:

    • some other agents have the positive duty of providing the holder of the right with whatever he or she needs to freely pursue his or her interests.

  • Example: if I have a right to an adequate standard of living, this does not mean merely that others must not interfere: it also means that if I am unable to provide myself with an adequate income, then I must be provided with such an income (perhaps by the government)


Right vs utilitarianism

Right vs Utilitarianism

  • The individual vs the society as a whole

  • Moral standards concerned with rights promote the individual’s welfare, and protect the individual’s choices against encroachment (invasion) by society.


Right vs utilitarianism1

Right vs Utilitarianism

  • Rights limit the validity of appeals to social benefits and to numbers. That means if a person has a right to do something, it is wrong for anyone to interfere although a large number of people might gain much more utility from such interference.

  • Example: If I have a right to life, it is morally wrong for someone to kill me even if many others would gain much more from my death than I will ever gain from living.


Contractual rights and duties

Contractual Rights and Duties

  • Contractual rights and duties are the limited rights and correlative (complementary) duties that arise when one person enters an agreement with another person.

  • Contractual rights and duties are distinguished:

    • They attach to specific individuals and the correlative duties are imposed only on other specific individuals.

    • Contractual rights arise out of a specific transaction between particular individuals.


Contractual rights and duties1

Contractual Rights and Duties

  • Contractual rights and duties depend on a publicly accepted system of rules that define the transactions that give rise to those rights and duties.

  • When a person goes through the appropriate actions, other people know that person is putting him or herself under an obligation because the publicly recognized system of rules specifies that such actions count as contractual agreement.


  • Contractual rights and duties2

    Contractual Rights and Duties

    • Contractual rights and duties provide a basis for the special duties or obligations that people acquire when they accept a position or role within a legitimate social institution or an organization.

    • Example: married parents have a special duty to care for the upbringing of their children, doctors have a special duty to care for the health of their patients.


    Contractual rights and duties3

    Contractual Rights and Duties

    • The ethical rules govern contracts have been traditionally interpreted as including several moral constraints:

      • 1. Both of the parties to a contract must have full knowledge of the nature of the agreement they are entering.

      • 2. Neither party to a contract must intentionally misrepresent the facts of the contractual situation to the other party.


    Contractual rights and duties4

    Contractual rights and Duties

    • 3. Neither party to the contract must be forced to enter the contract under duress (compulsion by threat) or coercion (to force compliance by threat).

    • 4. The contract must not bind (tie) the parties to an immoral act.


    Moral rights kant

    Moral Rights: Kant

    • Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) developed ethical theory that provided the foundation for moral rights.

    • Moral principle that he calls the ____________________________: that everyone should be treated as a free person equal to everyone else.

    • That is, everyone has a moral right to such treatment, and everyone has the correlative (reciprocally related) duty to treat others in this way.


    Moral rights kant the principle

    Moral Rights: Kant - the principle

    • An action is morally right for a person in a certain situation if, and, only if, the person’s reason for carrying out the action is a reason that he or she would be willing to have every person act on, in any similar situation.

    • If I am not willing to have everyone act in this way, even toward me, then it is morally wrong for me to act in this way toward others. A person’s reasons for acting must be “________________”. Golden Rule does say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


    Moral rights kant1

    Moral Rights: Kant

    • The first formulation of the principle must incorporate two criteria for determining moral right and wrong:

    • _____________________

      • the person’s reason for acting must be reasons that everyone could act on at least in principle – pure reasoning

    • Reversibility

      • the person’s reason for acting must be reasons that he or she would be willing to have all others use, even as a basis of how they treat him or her.


    Moral rights kant2

    Moral Rights: Kant

    • The second formulation Kant gives of the categorical imperative is this:

      • Everyone should treat each human being as a being whose existence as a free rational person should be promoted. For Kant, this means two things:

        • 1. Respect each person’s freedom by treating people only as they have freely consented to be treated beforehand

        • 2. Develop each person’s capacity to freely choose for him or herself the aims he or she will pursue.


    Moral rights kant3

    Moral Rights: Kant

    • The second principle:

      • An action is morally right for a person if, and only if, in performing the action, the person does not use others merely as a means for advancing his or her own interests , but also both respects and develops their capacity to choose freely for themselves.

      • Example: an employee may legitimately be asked to perform the unpleasant or even dangerous tasks involved in a job if the employee freely consented to take the job knowing that it would involve these tasks

      • But it would be wrong to subject an employee to health risks without the employee’s knowledge.


    Moral rights kant4

    Moral Rights: Kant

    • By deceiving a person into making a contract that person would not freely choose to make, I fail to respect that person’s freedom to choose and merely use the person to advance my own interests.


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