Description QUESTION 1 Governments have discovered that by adding certain chemicals to public water supplies ‘public health’ can be greatly improved. Adding chemicals is relatively cheap, and coverage is widespread (so long as the population is drinking from public water supplies). So ‘government added chemicals’ can greatly improve social efficiency, with large benefits at relatively low cost. Here are a few possible water additives (simplified for illustrative purposes). Assume that, in every case, that there are net benefits (total benefits > total costs). Which ones do you think are acceptable for the government to add? Why or why not? 1. Chlorine, to disinfect it and kill harmful pathogens and so prevent disease. See CDC chlorine link here. (Links to an external site.) 2. Fluoride, to reduce dental cavities and improve oral hygiene. See CDC fluoride link here. (Links to an external site.) But see a contrary view here (Links to an external site.). 3. Statins, to lower blood cholesterol levels and thus improve cardiovascular health. See CDC statins link here (Links to an external site.). [Hypothetical: assume that cost-benefit studies have demonstrated that widespread use of statins would improve public health by increasing average life spans, with limited side effects.] 4. ADHD medications, to reduce attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, and to improve cognitive focus at schools and businesses. Assume that research studies have demonstrated that these medications improve concentration and focus, whether the individual has ADHD or not. See CDC ADHD link here (Links to an external site.). You might also want to read this (links to an external site) (Links to an external site.). What do you think? Please write a reflection regarding which, if any, of these options you would favor and which you would oppose. What was the basis for your decision? What evidence would you like to have to make a more informed decision? What might you anticipate the political actors would say about each option? QUESTION 2 Assume that a safe, effective, and inexpensive medical technique is developed that allows parents to select the sexual orientation (that is, whether the child will be heterosexual, LGBTQ+, or asexual) of their children in utero. Should the government approve this technique so that parents can legally use it, or should the government ban this technique? In answering this question, you should have paid attention to two main concerns: 1. What are the (likely) consequences of allowing or prohibiting this technique? What are the costs and benefits, and for whom? Which individuals and groups are likely to be helped or hurt? 2. Would the prohibition or legalization serve other moral purposes, independent of the consequences on individuals and groups? Would either promote or inhibit rights or duties we believe to be important? You might note, of course, that answers using consequentialist reasoning might differ from those using deontological reasoning. You might also consider that those who are “pro-choice” regarding abortion typically favor giving women full autonomy regarding reproductive choices, while those who are “pro-life” tend to be more conservative on other sexual matters.
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