The Lottery Ticket Dilemma

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The Lottery Ticket Dilemma




Decision-making has been a fundamental aspect of human beings for a long time. Every day, an individual has to make varied decisions, each of which come with conflicting aspects, benefits and limitations. In most cases, it is not difficult to make a choice as one alternative with undoubtedly be clearly better than the others. However, this does not in any way undermine or negate the difficulty that comes with decision-making. Different individuals use different thought patterns in coming up with the appropriate decision or course of action. These thought patterns have been coherently devised and summarized into theories that would inform decision-making in varied instances. This would be the case in the example provided.

In this case, a neighbor has given clear instructions stating that his dollar should not be mixed in buying a lottery ticket just in case his lottery ticket wins. However, the individual buys two tickets one with his own money and the other with the neighbors money but does not mix the lottery tickets. Indeed, the neighbor’s lottery ticket wins $1.8 million, money which the individual desperately needs to cover up the financial quagmire in which he is. The individual is, therefore, in a dilemma as to whether he should give up the ticket and inform the neighbor that his ticket won the money or he should keep the ticket and tell the neighbor that his ticket was unlucky. Varied theories would provide different explanations for any course of action that the individual may take.

Ethical egotist

As an ethical egotist, I would undoubtedly keep the ticket to myself and inform my neighbor that his ticket did not win. Ethical egoism underlines the notion that it is imperative and sufficient for a course of action to be morally appropriate as long as it optimizes the interests of an individual. Ethical egoism is primarily divided into three categories including individual, personal and universal ethical egoism. Personal ethical egoism underlined the belief that my actions should only be motivated by self interests but is silent on the motivations for other people’s actions. Individual ethical egoism underlines the belief that the actions of all individuals should be geared towards benefiting me (Garsten & Hernes, 2009). Universal ethical egoism, on the other hand, underlines the notion that all individuals should pursue their own self interests and seek to benefit themselves. Needless to say, all of them point at taking the course of action that would be beneficial to me (Garsten & Hernes, 2009). With deficits in my rent and car payments and needing the money to pay for my college education, it goes without saying that I could do with some extra money. The action that would be most beneficial to me (or rather one that comes closest to self interest) is keeping the ticket to myself so I can have the money. As a personal ethical egotist, the action that comes closest to self interest is keeping the ticket just as is the case for Universal ethical egoism. For individual ethical egoism, the actions of my neighbor should be pointing towards benefiting me, which is only attainable if I keep the winning ticket.

One of the key weaknesses pertaining to the application of this theory is the founded on the fact that it makes no consideration for moral duties of even prima facie good or benefit beyond self interests and personal happiness (Moore, 1998). Failure to consider the moral duties that an individual has would give a leeway for individuals to undertake atrocities in the name of self interest. In the case study provided, I would undoubtedly not consider my moral duty to give my neighbor the winning ticket, which was bought with the dollars that he had instructed me to set aside and not mix with mine just in case his money got the winning lottery ticket.

Nevertheless, this theory comes as extremely easy to apply. All that I would have to worry about or consider is which of the options would be most beneficial to me. It gives me the capacity to do what I want in this case and almost affords me personal relativism with regard to freedom of choice.

Cultural or ethical relativism

However, the decision would undoubtedly be different if I was foll.............

Type: Essay || Words: 1487 Rating || Excellent

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