Kantian And Natural Law Theory

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Morally-driven issues are often the centerpiece of political discussion and dinnertime conversation alike, and while each individual may hold their own moral beliefs, resolutions are found much more easily when a unifying theory is utilized in order to define and extract a universally agreed upon solution. For this example, I will consider a case where the debate arises over the exploitation of the family of a suspected terrorist, by means of non-lethal torture, in order to extract information from the terrorist that may go otherwise unknown. Natural law theory suggests that the case is moral while Kantian moral theory offers insight into why this use of torture is immoral, but decision aside, one of these theories is especially applicable to this case. When examining the morality of torture through the scope of Kantian and natural law theories, Kantian moral theory provides a stronger account of the morality of the case due to the nature of the circumstances it prescribes which come in direct conflict with the core suggestion of Immanuel Kant’s theory, that people should be treated only as ends and not means. To begin with the less sound of the two theories, I will discuss natural laws’ critique of the suggestion of utilizing a terrorist’s family in order to extract information. Natural law theory certainly is applicable, due to its’ examination of the four pillars of morality, each of which can be thoughtfully applied to the situation at hand. Before getting into the considerations of the doctrine of double effect, it is important to understand the implications of the pillars of natural law theory in conjunction with the given case study. Natural law theory emphasizes that in order for an issue to be considered moral it must n... ... middle of paper ... ...attempting to determine the morality of an action, ambiguity is certainly not a trait that works in favor of the theory. While Kantian moral theory and natural law theory both provide explanations for the immorality of the use of torture on a terrorist’s family, it is Kantian moral theory that is more comprehensive as well as definitive in its decision. The ambiguity of natural law theory in this particular scenario provides an explanation that while it defines the issue as being immoral, it also leaves room open for disagreement. Kantian theory identifies both the theoretical and practical aims of ethics regarding this issue as well as comprehensively defines the issue as coming into conflict with its primary moral basis; thus, it is more complete, and the more correct theory to utilize when attempting to identify the morality of torturing the terrorist’s family.
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