Higher Sem in Practical Philosophy: David Alm "Aggregation and Rights: Equal Stakes"
David Alm (Lund) will give a self-contained talk with the titel "Aggregation and Rights: Equal Stakes”.
Here is his abstract:
In this paper I will understand positive rights in terms of the standing to make demands for aid, with the aim of applying that view to cases in which an agent is able to aid one of two groups of patients of unequal size, but threatened by the same harm. I divide such cases into two categories: those in which the smaller group consists of just one person and those in which it consists of more than one person. Concerning the first of these, I argue that in such cases it is usually possible to show that saving the one patient violates the rights to aid of the many. Specifically, I argue, he lacks his immunity from exclusion by the many because his demand for aid would be objectionably selfish. I then consider a variant case in which the one demands only a chance of being saved. Even if such a demand is not selfish, I argue, the many could still have a right to be saved outright, rather than having the agent decide by lottery, if at least one of the possible outcomes of such a lottery would itself be morally unacceptable, in the sense that someone could (decently) demand that we not bring it about outright. Turning finally to the other kind of case, in which the smaller group consists of more than one person, I argue that, as long as the difference in numbers is large enough, the members of the smaller group lack the immunity to exclusion, as their demands for aid will have to be either selfish or at least vicariously selfish (in a sense to be explained).