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Ethics, Privacy and Rights

A) Compare and contrast the Utilitarian and Kantian arguments for viewing privacy as a right. Note the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

B) Employees in the United States have less protection than anywhere else in the industrialized world. What protection is there? How do advocates of greater protection argue that the present situation is inadequate? Discuss the parts of model act to address the situation.

C) Government and private employers collect vast amounts of personal information. What challenges to privacy has arisen as a result.

D) How does the property rights argument support employment at will? Discuss the considerations that limit this argument. How might the property rights argument be used against employment-at-will?

Solution Preview

Excellent questions!

A) Compare and contrast the Utilitarian and Kantian arguments for viewing privacy as a right. Note the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

Let's consider an example of violating the privacy of the student's information who is participating in research study:

1. Kantian argument

? You recognize and respect the promise given to the students to maintain privacy
? Students are persons they are entitled to the maintenance of that promise
? You would expect the same treatment if you were in the study yourself

2. Utilitarian argument
? What if students discover their privacy violated
? Knowledge is a good
? Future studies may not have participants so future knowledge that could be good for everyone will be in jeopardy

Limitations:

Kantianism: focuses on Universal rules. Limitations are linked to the question: How do I resolve conflicts between rules? Can I steal food to care for my children? Stealing is wrong. Caring for children is right. Likewise, for privacy rights; violating individual privacy is wrong. National security is right. Second, what about exceptions? Lying is wrong. Can I tell my wife I like her new haircut when I don't? Likewise, protecting privacy is right. Can I reveal information to save a life?

Similarly, utilitarianism ethics focus on the rules that generate the greatest good. Who defines what is good e.g., how much privacy is good? It is relative, so everyone has a different measure of what is good, which means that all behavior could be justified. In society this is dangerous. Other criticisms apply. How do we measure and compare "good"? How many dollars is a life worth? Who and what count in our computations? Second, unjust ...

Solution Summary

This solution compares and contrast the Utilitarian and Kantian arguments for viewing privacy as a right including the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. It also discusses the protection there is for employees in the industrialized world and what advocates of greater protection argue that is in the present situation that is inadequate e.g. using parts of model act to address the situation. Referring to how the government and private employers collect vast amounts of personal information, it also discusses the challenges to privacy that has arisen as a result. Finally, it describes how the property rights argument does support employment-at-will and the considerations that limit this argument, as well as how the property rights argument might be used against employment-at-will.

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