The question “Should we help others if doing that may hurt our personal property?” has risen very acutely in recent times. With appearance of new technologies and overall development of the world, people tend to pay less attention to the surrounding environment as well as the people nearby. The communication and work became virtual; thus, modern humans are very concentrated on their own lives. The above query is curious to consider, as being helpful is so rare among contemporary humans, particularly in the case of hurting personal property. The purpose of this paper is to consider the case of being helpful with the possibility of hurting personal property from utilitarian and deontological perspectives.
All people have diverse views on the situation of helping others: some tend to aid other humans, and some are not likely to help. There are also people who consider that the decision to help varies according to the particular situation. I experienced the situation when the elder woman fell down on the road and injured her leg. At that moment, I was together with my mother. As I went out to help her, my mother stopped me and told not to mind others’ business, as it might be a trap. At that time, I recalled that I saw in the news that someone had been diving to defraud insurance company bills. That is why finally, I chose to stand aside. That event was unforgettable. I understand that at that time, I was too young, and I did not have a capacity for independent thinking. The time passes, but I usually ask myself whether I did the right thing during that event. Moreover, I wonder what I will do in the similar situation in the future.
The situations where humans’ help is needed are rather typical in nowadays world. When I see a person that needs aid, I recall the accident with the old woman that happened to me. Being an adult, I realize that my aid was necessary for the woman. I had to come to her, help her get up, provide first aid, and call the ambulance. Maybe, because of our (my and mother’s) apathy, the woman suffered or even could die. Moreover, our help would make her feel better, and she would recover in a while. Now, I understand that I was too young to think about helping the person or not. I had my mother who decided for my sake. My age did not allow me to aid the woman. However, it is clear that the woman needed help, and I had to do it for her.
The event with the old woman was an option for me. At that time, I did not worry about that accident much. For a long time, I even did not recall the situation, but one day, walking along the street, I saw a man who knocked off the girl. Some people run to help her, and other indifferently passed by. In that moment, I brought back the event with an old woman who had been in the similar situation, and I was just a boy with his mother who indifferently had passed by.
The issue is that the woman really needed help, and I could be her only rescue. No doubt, I had to come to her and aid her. First, I could ask about her feeling, help her get up, and carry to the nearest bench. Then, I had to provide first aid like stop the bleeding and call the ambulance. Until now, I did not understand why mother had prohibited me to aid the woman. However, maybe she worried that I was too young to help the others or that this situation could negatively affect my mental health. No matter what, every person possesses his right to make diverse decisions and have various points of view.
People are diverse as well as their characters and certain moral aspects of personality. Morality is something inner in an individual’s character, something that induces him to take particular actions. The family the human was brought up in, friends, and surrounding environment influence the moral aspect of a person. In the situation of the injured old woman, the moral aspects of my personality allowed me not to help the woman and pass by indifferently. My mother’s moral aspects affected my morality during that particular event.
The social side of a personality comprises his relation with the surrounding environment as well as being a part of a particular social group. Various rules of living exist within society. A person must act in accordance with these regulations. The example of the old injured woman requires immediate help for her according to the social aspect of an individual. However, the aspect of person’s individuality allows him operate pursuant to his moral side or character. As well as particular moral and social aspects, an individual possesses his values, which are formed on the bases of a person’s family and life experience. During life, a human forms constant values that he follows. The instance with the old injured woman shows that each person acts in accordance with his inner values. My mother’s values and mine values made us not to help the woman.
Together with the values, an individual has some responsibilities through his life. At diverse stages of life, the responsibilities change. They can be work responsibilities, family duties, or social liabilities. Moreover, a person looks at every new situation from the point of view of his responsibilities. The ethical side of liabilities demands to aid others. However, as my mother said, the help for the injured old woman was not my responsibility. Due to mother’s words, I had passed by the lady and had not recalled that event till the moment of my adult responsibility.
According to the aspect of the ethical subjectivism, there are not certain proper morals in the world. There are not common rules of behavior or duties for people. Everyone is concentrated on his own world and lives in it. Ethical subjectivism explains why I did not help the old woman. The answer is clear; I was concerned with my issues. I subconsciously followed the subjectivism concept.
Each abovementioned aspect gives a clear understanding of the humans’ actions in every particular situation. Every event can be seen from the diverse perspectives. The most significant perspectives to look through any event are utilitarian and deontological. The utilitarian ethics states that each person acts to make more benefits out of the situation rather than harm caused for each its participant. The deontological ethics states that whether a situation is bad or good depends on whether the action that brought it about was wrong or right. According to the deontological approach, a person must act without thinking about the consequences of the action. Moreover, the action for deontologists is their duty or obligation. Thus, the utilitarian ethics aims at making beneficial consequences while the deontological ethics aims at acting without thinking about the benefits or harmful outcomes.
When looking at the situation with the injured old lady from the utilitarian point of view, it becomes clear that I had to help the lady and convince my mother in the benefits of such action. The utilitarian approach to the situation is right, as a person can consider all advantages and disadvantages of the consequences. If the actions done concerning the situation bring more benefits, they are worth doing. On the other hand, if the action harms people and brings shortcomings, a person must refuse to take any actions regarding the event that happened.
The example of the situation with the old woman may help to understand the principle of utilitarianism better. It is necessary to list advantages of the helping the old lady. First, if I came to the woman, I would know about her feeling and know how to help. I would be able to aid her get up, provide first aid, and call the ambulance, which would provide the lady with the further treatment. The benefit is that the woman would feel better, and I even could have saved her life. The second advantage is concerning my mother. If I had managed to convince her in the need of aiding the woman, she would perceive me as more serious, independent, and reliable boy. The third advantage is that I would feel like a hero because I struggled to convince the mother and aided the old woman. The disadvantage of helping in this situation includes my mother’s anger because I would not obey her and pass by the person in need. Thus, in case of applying the ethics of utilitarianism to the above situation, the benefits of helping become visible.
From the deontological point of view, a person must help another one because it is his duty. The family, school, and experience teach an individual to aid the others. Society supposes that helping others when they are in need is an obligation of each person. Following the deontological approach, a human must consider every situation from the view of its rightness or wrongness and try to take right actions without caring about the consequences.
Considering the ethics of deontology in the abovementioned event, it was my duty to help the woman even if the consequence was not satisfactory for both of us. I did not have to worry whether my actions would make the woman feel worse or not, I just had to execute my obligation. My mother did not follow the principle of deontology and refused to help the woman although she had to do that. Moreover, the ethics of deontology includes Kant’s duty-based ethic. Kant taught that each human being should follow the rules of duty and had not to depend on God or their society or anything else to understand what was wrong and what was right. Nor they needed to look at the outcomes of an act.
Thus, every person looks at any situation in accordance with his own morality or character. However, there are aspects of sociality, responsibility, and subjectivism, which make an individual follow certain rules of behavior in diverse situations. The example with the helping the old injured woman shows that the person decides whether to help her or not based on their unique views. There exist two significant ethical approaches of deontology and utilitarianism, which may determine the right decision in the mentioned case. According to the deontological ethics, I had to help the old injured woman because it was my duty, and I did not need to care about the consequences. On the contrary, the utilitarian ethics makes me think about the consequences of helping first and then help the lady, as both sides get benefits from such decision. Therefore, considering all aspects discussed above, I would definitely help the woman in need.