Moving from one house to another often deems itself as more of a struggle than it is
enjoyable. You go through the trouble of hiring movers, then you must unpack your boxes, and
neatly arrange all of the furniture. Only after becoming increasingly settled into your new home
do you become aware of a small but ever present poisonous snake infestation on your property.
Despite this unfortunate finding, you have no recollection of being notified of the snake issue by
neither the realty company, nor the previous seller. Had you, the buyer, been aware of this
rodent problem, it would have potentially played a factor in your decision making process to
purchase the home. A question was presented to The Ethicist debating the morality behind
informing a future buyer - or not informing - just like the one in the aforementioned scenario. It’s
important to look at this situation from one particular ethical theory in order to succeed optimum
morality: Immanuel Kant’s deontological perspective.
The defining principle behind Kantian ethics is known as a categorical imperative, which
states that we should do something in every situation, regardless of our own particular wants
and needs. In this specific scenario, the home owner should always tell the truth no matter what
the potential implications may be. When a person comes to a moral crossroads, the potential
outcomes are then analyzed and weighed according to which offers the most morally
permissible result. Being truthful and forthright about the pest problem, no matter how prominent
or irrelevant, would not be a choice, but rather a duty to be consistently followed. Should the
truth ever be withheld, there can and will be opposin...
... middle of paper ...
...future. For instance, not being truthful about the snakes could limit the
freedom of the buyer when conducting business, entertaining, renovating, or gardening. If
freedom is unattainable because of the inaction from another, then a violation of the means-end
principle has occurred.
Conclusively, Kant calls upon people to seek a comprehensive understanding of all
results of an action, and then apply a universal maxim to it. Lastly, will the maxim to be so no
matter what any personal want or desire calls for. By following this process, one can implement
boundaries in order to preserve moral aptitude. For the property-dwelling snakes, this does not
make for good news, as Kant’s ideals do not extend beyond humans. However, the buyer and
seller in any situation can act upon their duty to follow the maxim, and hopefully provide one
another with the best solution possible.
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