Kant And Utilitarianism Essay Research Paper In

Kant And Utilitarianism Essay, Research Paper

In the story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, two points of view are

introduced. The Kantian point of view is contrasted with the Utilitarian point

of view. In the story there is a city named Omelas, in which a single child

suffers so that the community may live with great happiness. Most of the

community accepts the fact that one child must suffer for happiness to exist.

However, the odd citizen becomes so disgusted with the fact the child is allowed

to suffer that they leave Omelas for good. In this essay, one character will be

a Utilitarian and another character will be Kantian. The two characters will

debate the issue of sacrificing one person for the good of the community, and

they will answer the question, ?Would you walk away from Omelas?? The first

character is named Sandra, and the other is named Ben. Finally, this essay

assumes that Omelas is a unique city on the planet earth. Ben: I went to look at

him yesterday. Sandra: Who did you go look at? Ben: You know? him, the one

locked up in the basement of the old church. I finally got up enough courage to

go and see what the sacrificed one really looks like. Sandra: I don?t like how

he is just called the sacrificed one. I?m sure he must have a name. Everybody

has a name?that?s just part of what make us a person. Ben: What do you

mean!? He needs no name. Why would he need a name? Nobody is allowed to talk to

him, because that might give the impression that we actually care about him. You

only need a name if you interact with other people, just like how when I talk to

you I call you by your name. I will never talk to the sacrificed one. Sandra:

Never? But that doesn?t show any respect for him? he must deserve at least a

little respect. Every person on Earth deserves respect, even the sacrificed one.

Ben: He doesn?t deserve any respect. Giving him respect could jeopardize all

that me and you have. His pain allows us to live with such joy. Our parents

lived like this, and their parents lived like this. It is almost like happiness

is a tradition in Omelas. Sandra: Sure, Omelas has always sacrificed a child in

order to achieve happiness for the community, but why doesn?t the rest of the

world also do this. If it is such a good idea, why too doesn?t every city on

the planet adopt this method? Ben: Every other city is ignorant to the benefits

that are achieved through a sacrifice. I feel that the world would be a much

better place if everybody lived such as we do. Our life is a life of constant

utopia. Sandra: I think that the world doesn?t adopt our idea about

sacrificing because they feel that it is morally wrong. Quite frankly I would

have to agree with the rest of the world. How would you feel if someone you

loved were forced into a life of suffering and confinement? If it was someone

such as your sister or brother? What if it was you who was chosen to suffer?

Would it still be acceptable if it was you who had to live a life of pain and

isolation? I think that most people in the world would argue that it is immoral

to allow someone to suffer. Ben: Your argument against sacrificing is based on

morals, however decisions shouldn?t be made based on morals, but rather on the

outcome of those decisions. Actions, such as sacrificing, should be measured

according to the overall happiness it will achieve. When weighed out,

sacrificing produces much more happiness than if we didn?t sacrifice.

Therefore, allowing one person to suffer is perfectly acceptable. It is our duty

to make sure that maximum happiness is obtained for all. Sandra: Sacrificing

this child is an action that has no moral worth. You allow this child to be

sacrificed because you want to be happy for the rest of your life. You?re not

accepting the sacrifice of this child because it?s your duty; you?re doing

it because you want to be happy. Therefore your acceptance holds no moral worth.

Ben: I accept the suffering based on the overall consequences. Overall, the

suffering is justified and thus acceptable. The happiness of the whole city

greatly outweighs the suffering of the child, and this makes the sacrifice okay.

Sandra: The fact is, a child?s life has been ruined. I can?t see how this is

justified. Ben: Let me give you an example of how a sacrifice was made in order

to protect the whole world, including Omelas. World War II was ended because of

a great sacrifice. A bomb was dropped on a city in Japan and a large number of

people were killed. This destruction caused Japan to surrender, and ended the

war. Had the bomb not been dropped, the war would have continued and millions of

people would have died. Omelas lives in freedom because the bomb was dropped and

the war was ended. This is a case of how the resulting happiness of the whole

world, outweighed the sadness caused by the bomb. Would you rather live without

freedom, without happiness? Sandra: Of course I want to have freedom and be

happy. But there must be another way to achieve these things. Why must we

sacrifice a person? This child is a rational human, he has rights, and he

deserves respect. Ben: How can you argue that he is rational. When I went to see

him he was about as irrational as anyone could be. He is an imbecile?. he is

afraid of mops and he just sits there and whines quietly, ?eh-haa, eh-haa.?

He has no idea of what happiness is, and probably never will. Therefore, I have

no problem with allowing him to stay locked up and suffer so that the rest of

the city may live a perfectly happy life. You argue that it is wrong to keep him

locked up because he is a rational being, but I have just explained why he is

not rational. Do you still think that his suffering is not justified? Sandra: I

can see how you would argue that he is not a rational person, but don?t you

feel guilty because you get to enjoy happiness while someone suffers. Ben: Let

me ask you a question. Would you rather live in a different city? In a city

where there are worries, murders, hurt, and sadness? Could you give up constant

happiness? Could you walk away from Omelas? Sandra: Honestly, I couldn?t live

somewhere that didn?t bring me happiness all the time. I guess that being a

part of the Omelas community forces me to accept the fact that someone must

suffer for me to enjoy life to the fullest. Ben: Don?t forget that the

suffering child will never know what happiness is. He is an irrational child. He

is barely functioning?he is an imbecile. Having the child suffer is justified

because the happiness of the whole city outweighs the suffering of the child. I

don?t see how anyone could ever leave a life of continual happiness. I don?t

see how anyone would walk away from Omelas. I would never walk away. Sandra: I

too, could not imagine my life without continual happiness. But, my decision to

never leave Omelas is an interesting decision. I?ve just realized that I came

to my decision through the same method that you used for your arguments. By this

I mean, that I came to my decision through weighing out the consequences of

leaving and staying. I came to the conclusion that staying would give me the

greatest happiness. I even took into consideration the fact that I may feel

guilty because I know that a child is suffering so that I may live a life that

is full of pleasure and joy. I now see that the suffering of the child is in

fact justified because a whole city gets to live a life of pure happiness.


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