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Analyse the Philosophic Justification of Raskolnikov's Actions in "Crime and Punishment".

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Introduction

Khalid Question 2 You can be larger than life, just not death? I suppose we hear it so often that we have stopped believing it altogether. The excerpt from Crime and Punishment stages a scenario which accentuates upon the function of making tough choices[a]. What we have here is a story in which on one side there is a woman iniquitous in the most literal sense of the word and kind towards none. All she has of value is a ton of money. Then there?s the other side which portrays score of individuals, dwelling in misery lacking the basic necessities to continue vitality. The suggestion that the author makes is to end the life of the abominable woman and use her wealth to end the despair of the unfortunate individuals. The big question remains, can it be justified[b]? Let?s visit utilitarianism to test the author?s stance. When put to the test of utilitarianism, it can be seen that the excerpt employs a rather simple calculus to weigh the pleasure of sustenance of thousands of individuals against the pain caused by the death of an ?evil? soul. According to Raskolnikov as the expected benefits of killing the lady exceed the pain, he asserts that it is a valid alternative. Such rationale brings into play act-utilitarianism. The theory maintains that that action must be done which maximizes the total benefit for the majority. ...read more.

Middle

By annotating the life of the landlady as ?useless? he is assigning negligible weight to her life. However, the intangible things such as life have their intrinsic value[e] and such qualitative factors should also be considered. He has taken into account only the quantifiable measures, the numerous beings of poor faction and has left out the intrinsic components and other negative consequences. The pain element may not be limited to just the loss of life and can be of a greater magnitude. Raskolnikov?s claim that the old landlady is ?necessary to no one? may be biased. He disappoints the principal of impartiality, the decision making matters to her as much as it does to the other people. Hence, her death may father a multitude of other negative consequences which[f] the oversimplified equation conveniently ignores. Thirdly, it is essential in utilitarianism that all possible alternatives are analyzed and then and only then that alternative must be chosen that causes the maximum pleasure and inflicting the minimum pain: thereby justifying the right action. Raskolnikov?s earnest aim behind killing the land lady was to save ?a dozen families from hunger, want, ruin, crime and misery?; let?s just for argument?s sake say; agreed, granted that he had a heartfelt intention: but what about all the other alternatives that had to be analyzed and meditated on? Doesn?t it look pre-meditated of him suggesting killing her without waiting to even consider any other substitute? ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is pretty evident that the notion which utilitarianism after evaluating Raskolnikov?s position imparts is that certainty of the outcome holds supreme importance. Raskolnikov just cannot steal someone?s right to live[k] because she has money and others may need it. How happy is she living with all that wealth and disposing it off however she chooses? Does he know that? He doesn?t. Also, impartiality is the essence of the decision you make, the way he puts it, ?evil-minded, sulky old woman?, bias emanates out of every fragment of word he uses to describe her. It is a big decision, to take someone?s life. And unless you are absolutely sure, just don?t decide which lives to take too soon and which to let live till late. 64% The structure of your essay is clear, and it seems that you have put effort into writing it. But in some places, you?ve compromised on important philosophical details of your position in the interest of saying things elegantly. It?s either that, or you are not entirely clear about some of the key issues. For example, look at my comments above about rights and respect for persons. Rights have no place in consequentialist ethics, but in the final paragraph you seem to suggest that the question of the old woman?s rights can be addressed by looking at a different question of whether she is happy etc. The issue of certainty of consequences: well, what about expected value calculations? Your referencing format needs to accurate and consistent. ...read more.

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