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Risk Taking In our lives it is important to exercise self-command Howeverwe should not be so concerned with the future that we stifle the presentThe question becomes what balance should we strike between self-commandand risks What kinds of risks are acceptable or unacceptable In thisessay we will use two examples of risks to show the distinction betweenthe two and arrive at a conclusion as to the balance one should havebetween risk and self command The first example we will use is of aperson who spends his life savings on a lottery ticket and does not winthe lottery The second is of a person who spends his life savings on ahunch regarding a cure for AIDS a hunch that is false Before we makethis distinction however it is necessary to define the terms acceptableand unacceptable risksAcceptable and Unacceptable Risks There are several ways in which one could define which risks areacceptable One could say for example that the only acceptable risk isone for which the odds of success are greater than the odds of failureAnother definition of acceptable risk might be a risk that does not harmones future We might also say that the only acceptable risk is onewhere the aggregate happiness is increased thus increasing the moral goodof the risk an idea which is based on John Stuart Mills UtilitarianismFinally we might define a morally good risk in a Kantian way by sayingthat the only acceptable risk is one which is rationally thought outThomas lecture Now that we have several definitions of acceptable risks we mayask how these definitions which seem piecemeal and unrelated can allcombine to form one definition of acceptable risk The best way to dothis is to examine the two cases that lie before us and relate thedefinitions to them In the process of doing so we will determine whichrisk is acceptable and which is notRisks in the example the
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