Sacred or Protected Values What sorts of things do we hold sacred or protected?
Sacred or Protected Values Life The environment Health Religion People do not accept tradeoffs on these dimensions
Types of taboos Taboo tradeoffs: –Accepting money to violate a sacred value Forbidden base rates: –Racial equality forbids use of base-rate information in looking at relationship between race and crime Heretical counterfactuals –We are uncomfortable discussing certain possibilities.
Sacred or Protected Values Characteristics of Protected Values –Engages the feeling of morality –Requests to violate the value are met with outrage –People are uncomfortable even discussing the tradeoffs –People have a sense that they are doing something wrong by even entertaining an option Often must engage in a ‘purification’ process later.
Tragic vs. Taboo Tradeoffs Tetlock et al. A tragic tradeoff –Robert can either save the life of Johnny, a five- year-old boy who needs a liver transplant, or he can save the life of an equally sick six-year-old boy who needs a liver transplant. Robert will only be able to save one child.
Taboo Tradeoff Robert can save the life of Johnny, a five- year-old who needs a liver transplant, but the transplant procedure will cost the hospital $1,000,000 that could be spent in other ways such as purchasing better equipment and enhancing salaries to recruit talented doctors to the hospital. Robert could save Johnny’s life or he could use the $1,000,000 for other hospital needs.
Judgments about people How does considering a potential taboo tradeoff affect someone’s belief about a person? How do we reconcile this with the fact that we consider taboo tradeoffs all the time in different guises? –Laws do place a value on human life and the environment.
Morality and business Some environmental legislation backfires –Without legislation, companies may treat environmental issues as a moral issue –With legislation, they become a business issue. Is it cheaper to comply with a regulation or to fail to comply and risk paying a fine.
Why do we have protected values? Protected values are like mental accounting. We have conflicting goals. –Often the protected value is about a long-term goal –Short term goals are more tempting –We have protected values to provide a policy for making certain kinds of decisions.