Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pleasure vs the Greater Good

When decision-making, one may encounter the difficulties of committing to a choice. Do I do something for my own benefit? Should I do something for the benefit of another person? I do not think all people pursue pleasure for themselves. People can help others even in simple ways. For example, giving an hour to help a group of people understand a lesson. You have given up your own time to help the group, when you already knew the lesson and could’ve done something more profitable to yourself. But the decision-making gets more complex with bigger issues, especially concerning lives and human rights. There is the famous trolley problem. A train is approaching from a distance. On the track ahead, let’s say five people are stuck on the track. You can choose to switch a lever, which would deviate the train’s path onto a separate track. On the second track, however, one person is stuck on the track. A utilitarian would choose to switch the track anyway because then you would save more people. You would maximize happiness because you saved five people. There is still the one person, however, that you did not save. And this way of thinking would justify harming one for more people. In real life situations, what would happen to the rights of the minority? Furthermore, if you change the situation to having the one person being your friend would you save your friend for your pleasure and go against helping the greater good? There are many ways to put conditions on the decision, so I do believe there will always be conflicts between pleasure and the greater good. Not everyone will always pursue pleasure, but the decision is still difficult.


  1. (H3)Inevitably I think individuals will more often pursue pleasure than the greater good. This is most certainly not without exception but in general. People seek to maximize their pleasure an minimize their pain. What makes us human though is that we can put the well being of others above ourselves ad we can make those hard decisions. Say on one track is three complete strangers, and on the other is your own father. A human being is the only creature that could choose to sacrifice their father for the strangers.

  2. That may be the case for some people, but I would argue that for every person that would do that there is one person who wouldn't. It all depends upon the morals of the individual, and I think that everybody's unique induviuality is what make's the human race unique

  3. I think that people always do things to bring pleasure to themselves even though it may bring pain or boredom immediately, I will eventually bring the pleasure they are looking for.

  4. Kaite Berry H0111:33 AM CST

    I would agree with Bryce on that most would pursue pleasure first. We are hardwired from the beginning to pick the things we like rather than what the whole group likes. A less severe example is a child's birthday party. When you ask the kid if he wants vanilla or chocolate cake, he will tell you the one that he likes the most, not the one every one else likes. While this is a million steps down from life or death, I believe that we take that same childhood selfishness into our adulthood. It is almost nature to pick something for you rather than society. We don't see animals sacrificing each other for the greater good of their species. So while I think we are subject to picking pleasure above all else, I do still believe that we retain some of our morality regardless.