approaches.The “Parable of the Sadhu” presents a complex situation which action immediate action was necessary. Sadhu, an Indian holy man, was discoverednaked and barely alive by a group of multicultural mountaineers during their journey. Each ethnic group did a little to help the Sadhu, but none assumed full responsibility. Their priority was in climbing the mountainrather than carrying Sadhu to the village where other people could helphim. Although the conditions of the trip were so that once the mountaineerswent down to the village they might not have been able to come back up, theauthor of this essay still feels guilty for what was not done for the Sadhu (Donaldson 280).
There are three general approaches in examining a moral issue and making a decision, those being consequentialism, deontology andvirtue ethics. The essay does not clearly indicate which method was used toassess the situation. In my opinion, the best method would be Kantiandeontology. Let us discuss consequentialism first. Consequentialism focuses on consequences as the most important factor in the decision making process(Donaldson 3).
For consequentialists the motives of an act are not asimportant as what comes out of it. Utilitarianism is one of the branches ofconsequentialism. Utilitarianism believes in the greatest good for the number (Donaldson 3). This method along with egoist consequentialism wasprobably the one that was used subconsciously by the mountaineers. Leaving the Sadhu was fine because in the end the greater amount of people would have reached their goal and that would have made them happy.
Egoistconsequentialists who believe that the greatest good is their own would have done the same, satisfying their desires before helping someone else (Donaldson 4). This method, however, is not the best for this situation. One proving factor is that McCoy still feels guilty about this incident.Therefore, this method did not produce the most ethical response. Virtue ethics, unlike consequentialism, focus on the kind of person eachone of us should be. They focus on cultivating certain characteristics and look at every situation in terms of its potential influence on the moraleof the person (Donaldson 10).
This method, although much more helpful than utilitarianism, still produces an unclear response. On one hand, kindnessand compassion are both virtues that would be cultivated if themountaineers decided to help the Sadhu and carry him to the village. On theother hand, if mountaineers continue their journey virtues such as courage and determination would flourish.
It is difficult to decide which virtuesare more important than others and therefore, this method is too ambiguousto be applied to this situation.Finally, there is deontology, also called non-consequentialism. Deontology,in general, focuses on the motives of the act and the concept of”duty”(Camenisch 2). Kantian deontology assesses that there is aCategorical Imperative – the highest moral principle that should govern allhuman actions.
This universal law is stated in two ways: 1) act in a way that one would act with anyone in the same situation, andso that one does not create an undesirable world and 2) interact withpeople as human beings with rights and dignity rather than means to an end (Camenisch 2). This moral principle would be the most fair and useful in the Sadhu situation. McCoy’s friend mentions in the essay that themountaineers would have probably acted differently if the Sadhu were amember of their ethnic group (Donaldson 281). If they used the Kantiandeontology method, its first statement would forbid them from treatingSadhu differently than they would treat any other person in this situation.
Also, if for a second the mountaineers considered that they would becreating a world in which they would not want their children to live, theywould have acted differently. By “creating this world” I mean that they would not want people to act this way to themselves or their descendants.And finally, if they were treating Sadhu as a worthy human being, theywould have understood that human life is more valuable than accomplishing agoal. In this case, they would carry the Sadhu to the village and make sure that he is taken care of.
One could assume that I find the Kantian deontology method best justbecause that is what I think I would use. This, however, is not completely true. Much of this argument is based on the fact that McCoy still regretsthe way he acted with the Sadhu. Based on this, I assume that if he were inthe same situation again he would help Sadhu more. Kantian deontology seemsto be the most obvious method that would produce this decision. Personally, I think that all of the methods are too indefinite and therefore none ofthem can be said to be the method for decision making in every type of situation.
The question then is how does one know which method should beused? Copyright 1999 – 2004 OPPapers.com