Kant and Hume
Greta and Angelica are two women who saved Jews when the Nazis were finding them and killing them in the 1940’s in the Netherlands. Although the women were doing the same deed, they did it for two separate reasons. Greta followed the same ideas as the philosopher Kant. She merely saved the Jews because it was her duty to do what was right. Angelica followed the same ideas as the philosopher Hume. She reacted by the empathy they felt for others, not fully thinking through her decisions. In both cases, the women were risking their own lives by saving the Jews knowing if they were to be caught it would mean serious trouble for their whole family. Even though they both did good deeds, who was the more moral?
Kant’s view of all decisions in life is the first categorical imperative. You should consider all choices you make as a universal law (K 83). If you cannot imagine everyone in this world making the same choices as you make, can it be an acceptable decision? A person’s goal in life should be to make this world a better place to live in. An example of this categorical imperative is a man that is in desperate need to borrow money. He knows he will not be able to repay anyone but knows nothing would be loaned to him if he cannot promise to repay it (K 83). If he were to lie and get the money, he would be turning self-love into a universal law (K 84). If self-love were a universal law, the world would be corrupt. When the man thinks about his decision, he decides that if promises were made and never kept, no one would believe what was promised to them. The second categorical imperative is to treat humanity, yourself and others, always as an end and never as a means (K 86). This is arguing that the value of rational bein...
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...d her and that’s all that went through her mind. If she were to be caught, it would be a terrible thing for such a good person.
There is no doubt that both of these women did very good deeds by saving the Jews, but who was the more moral in doing it? Greta might have been a cold woman, but the way she thought is how I imagine most people to think even if they don’t admit it. She recognized her duty in situations and thought through the consequences before she acted. I admire Angelica’s willingness to help anyone in need, but if you do not think through the consequences that could happen, you might be caught and not be able to help anyone in the future who would need you. You need both your head and heart to make a good decision. Therefore, I think Greta would be the more moral person in this situation because she thought about what she did before she did it.
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