Should I, or Should I Not? Essay

849 WordsNov 14, 20124 Pages
Many people face moral dilemmas each day, from skipping others in the lunch line to stealing merchandise from a store. These dilemmas can be driven by self-satisfaction or moral duties. But the final decision, to do or not to do, is based on one of the three philosophies: egoism, utilitarianism, or Kantianism. “Ego” is the Latin word for “I.” Greek philosophy Plato split the concept of egoism in to two parts: psychological and moral. In psychological egoism, every act is motivated by self-interest; whereas, every act ought to be motivated by self-interest in moral egoism. According to Thomas Hobbes, humans are driven by the desire for pleasure. He suggests that altruistic acts, acts of sacrificing for the interests of others, are really just desires for personal benefits. For example, one would save a cat from the tree just to be recognized as a hero and improve his reputation. Similar to egoism, utilitarianism also believes that humans are driven by a desire to pleasure. However, it does not rule out the possibility of altruism. In fact, utilitarianism is often explained with the phrase: “the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.” In other words, one will act for the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people even if it means having to endure misery by himself. In the end though, there is still a bit of personal benefit involved. If a train, for instance, carried five people to the hospital but would kill one person along the way, it is better than saving that one person but killing the other five. Kantianism, named after Immanuel Kant, is strictly based on moral duty and is the only nonconsequentialistic view, meaning the choice is not based on the outcome. The most important part is the formulation of categorical imperatives, which are moral oughts and do not involve any individual’s desires. They are absolute

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