Parable of the Sadhu: Analysis from three general Essay

This essay has a total of 838 words and 4 pages.

Parable of the Sadhu: Analysis from three general approaches.


The "Parable of the Sadhu" presents a complex situation which action immediate action was
necessary. Sadhu, an Indian holy man, was discovered naked 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
mountain rather than carrying Sadhu to the village where other people could help him.
Although the conditions of the trip were so that once the mountaineers went down to the
village they might not have been able to come back up, the author 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 and virtue ethics. The essay does not clearly indicate which method was used to
assess the situation. In my opinion, the best method would be Kantian deontology.



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 as important as what comes out of it. Utilitarianism is one
of the branches of consequentialism. Utilitarianism believes in the greatest good for the
number (Donaldson 3). This method along with egoist consequentialism was probably 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. Egoist consequentialists 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 each one of us should
be. They focus on cultivating certain characteristics and look at every situation in terms
of its potential influence on the morale of the person (Donaldson 10). This method,
although much more helpful than utilitarianism, still produces an unclear response. On one
hand, kindness and compassion are both virtues that would be cultivated if the
mountaineers decided to help the Sadhu and carry him to the village. On the other hand, if
mountaineers continue their journey virtues such as courage and determination would
flourish. It is difficult to decide which virtues are more important than others and
therefore, this method is too ambiguous to be applied to this situation.



Finally, there is deontology, also called non-consequentialism. Deontology, in general,
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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