How Does One Determine What He "Ought to Do"

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Jacqueline Pavis
Professor Yeo
PHIL 1115EL02
31 October 2010
How Does One Determine What He “Ought To Do”?
Throughout the course of one’s whole lifetime, the constant question of what to do with one’s own life is brought up numerous times. How does one configure what he or she ought to do with their own life? What should an individual take into consideration while deciding what to do and also what other outside influences are also evident in helping the individual reach their decisions? There are so many choices that an individual could make and those choices could either be negative or positive. An individual must take into consideration how the choices he or she decides to make are going to affect the people around them and also how they will be able to contribute to their society. However, although choices may seem easy for some to make, for a lot more people, these decisions take a lot of insight and in depth thought before any final decisions can be made.

The phrase “ought to” should be first explored. The phrase can convey different meanings when it is being used. For instance, if someone were to say “you “ought to” quit smoking”, it’s more of a recommendation whereas if someone else were to say that “Jane “ought to” get a good grade on her paper”, the phrase becomes used to convey that something is expected because the person deserved that recognition. In addition, the phrase “ought to” may also convey meaning relating to obligation where it becomes used in the same sense that the word “should” could be used. So with that said, is it possible that when an individual determines where they want to go, is it because that they “ought to”? Or is because that the individual “should” choose a certain path?

As children, all are given the first opportunity to explore choices and are more curious about the world around them. This is the time where values, skills, and culture are becoming instilled into one’s mind, and where an individual begins to...
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