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The news site of Blue Valley High School

BV Tiger News

The news site of Blue Valley High School

BV Tiger News

What Do We Owe to Each Other?

Staff writer discusses philosophical question
What Do We Owe to Each Other?

One of my favorite shows of all time is “The Good Place” by Michael Shur. It’s a silly sitcom when taken at face value, but the more times I rewatch it, the more I realize how deep the show actually is.

One thing that comes up over and over again in the show is the question: What do we owe to each other? This question comes from the book “What we owe to each other” by T. M Scanlon, written in 1998. The book’s main focus is the question of why we would choose to do good for others over ourselves.

The author’s main theory is called contractualism, which is choosing to do good because of your moral obligations to others; a “contract”. He thinks that when you do something you deem good, it’s because you think you can convince the majority of others that it’s morally right too, and that’s all that matters.

I think in some ways this is true, but I also think the majority of people, in some instances, can be wrong. There are plenty of examples in the past couple hundred years where the majority of people agreed that something was right, but it ended up being 100% morally wrong. I also think back to the times when I was younger and did something purely because everyone else was doing it.

Point is, just because there’s a general consensus, doesn’t mean it’s correct. And just because you can convince someone that what you did was right, it doesn’t mean it is.

Looking back, most times I chose to do something good for someone over myself, it was because it was a friend or family member. I wanted them to be happy because I wanted to see them happy. I did it because I care for them, and I think that’s why others do it too.

“So, why do it then? Why choose to be good, every day, if there is no guaranteed reward we can count on, now or in the afterlife? I argue that we choose to be good because of our bonds with other people and our innate desire to treat them with dignity.” This quote is from a speech from one of the main characters of The Good Place. I think this quote summarizes perfectly what this show was all about, and what I took from it.

“Simply put, we are not in this alone.”

About the Contributor
Emily Kozlowski
Emily Kozlowski, Staff Writer
Emily Kozlowski is a sophomore starting her first year on the newspaper staff. She is excited to grow her writing and digital designing skills. Emily is also part of KAY Club and Latin Club. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, listening to and playing music, hanging out with friends, and relaxing with her Goldendoodle.