ISSUE-039

People should undertake risky action only after they have carefully considered its consequences.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


When undertaking risky actions, must people carefully consider its consequences? While I agree in theory with the notion that only after careful consideration should one take risky action, in practice this is very hard to achieve for two reasons. First, not all consequences may be foreseeable; second, it takes time to evaluate difference consequences and by doing so one may lose the best opportunity of action.


To start with, I must admit that from a purely logical and theoretical perspective, it is always beneficial to consider the consequences of a decision, particularly a potentially dangerous one, before acting on it. This is because we need to evaluate the potential gains and losses before a rational choice can be made. Apparently, if the potential gains outweigh the losses, one could more confidently act. Let’s take financial investment for an example. It would be highly unwise and unadvisable if one decides to use leverages to invest in a volatile stock without fully understanding the consequences. When the stock price goes up, certainly more gains shall be made; however, the possibility of heavy losses should not be ignored.


However, the discussion above makes one critical assumption that all consequences can be seen beforehand. Yet, in reality it is not uncommon that actions bring unexpected results. As a consequence, a true rational choice might not exist in the first place. Let’s still take financial investment as an example. In many cases an unforeseeable regulatory oversight and even major social events can cause wild disruptions to the market, both of which are hard to predict beforehand and certainly cannot be taken into consideration before the investment decision is made. In this sense, since not all consequences can be predicted or foreseen, a risky action may not require all of them to be carefully considered. Otherwise, no action should be ever taken due to the uncertainties in its outcome.


What’s more, it takes time to carefully evaluate the consequences of a risky action, and by the time such evaluations are done, we may have missed the best opportunity to act on it. This issue arises from another assumption in the theoretical reasoning; that is, time is assumed to be not relevant in such a risky action. However, in many cases in our life, decisions involving risks are also those which require immediate attention. Thus, the urgency alone would not permit a full assessment of all the aftermaths. For instance, in wars time is critical and any tactical manuveur can be risky. Should the commander spend too much time in considering the consequences, the best opportunity may already be lost. Therefore, commanders have to sometimes rely on intuitions and very limited information to make a decision.


Finally, the need to evaluate gains and losses assumes a rational decision-maker. However, modern behaviorial sciences tell us that human brains are not necessarily always a rational machine. In some cases, being rational is not even desired. An infant trapped in the fire would immediately invoke the parental nature of protection and lead to a rescue. To some extent, rationality alone would dissuade the adults from taking the risky action, because from a purely logical perspective, a new offspring can always be produced, unless the adults die in the fire. However, this is in clear contrast to human nature and moral standards, thus arguing against the proposition that all actions must be based upon a careful evaluation of their consequences.


Finally, while acting only after the consequences have been carefully thought about sounds reaonable in theory. In reality, not all consequences can be foreseen and the time it takes to consider consequences may be too precious to spend. Finally, the assumption that all decision must be rational may not always hold true.

6 次查看

最新文章

查看全部

Issue-156 Claim: Young people's tendency to make extensive use of portable devices like smartphones and tablets has hurt their development of social skills. Reason: These devices encourage users to fo

Issue-155 Some people believe that traveling to and living in numerous places increases one's ability to relate and connect to other people. Others believe that this ability is better cultivated by li

Issue-154 Some people believe that it is helpful to view a challenging situation as an opportunity for personal growth. Others believe that reimagining challenging situations this way occupies too muc