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.