Mass Torts: State of the Art
Liability for Changing Someone's Ethics?
What if there was a drug that could change a consequentialist into a deontologist? In other words, what if you gave this hypothetical drug to someone and he went from being a "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" sort of guy to a right v. wrong, rules sort of guy? Now what if that drug was prescribed based soley on the perfectly sound decision to relieve him of depression?
To grossly oversimplify, giving serotonin-boosting anti-depressants turned consequentialists (yes, I know there are more flavors of them than of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins but those flavors are just their common deontological side peeping through in different places) into right/wrong thinkers. Better (depending upon your perspective) yet, it made them more rational in "the greatest misfortune that may befall a man is great good fortune for his neighbor" sorts of experiments in which people are tested to see if they'd cut off their own noses to spite their neighbor's face. See: "Serotonin Selectively Influences Moral Judgment and Behavior Through Effects on Harm Aversion". ht: Marginal Revolution
Those are pretty big changes. They affect politics, friendships and so world views. I brought it up though not to discuss liability for making or prescribing such beneficial medicines but rather, I must admit, for a wholly different purpose - to very briefly discuss picking a jury. My number one rule of jury selection, from the defense perspective, is to identify and get rid of depressed veniremen. They tend not to care about rules and to be far too willing to cut off your client's ear and thereafter paint their masterpieces out of piles of her money.
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