From walking out of your local grocery store back to your car, after buying as much food as your last paycheck can purchase, a beggar stops you. They are wearing the most ragged clothes you have ever seen and you doubt they provide any sort of warmth in the harsh February weather in New England. They ask, “Do you have any spare change?” knowing that you just bought some items and potentially paid with cash and received coins in return or just happen to have literal spare change. You fumble with your words attempting to come up with a reasonable response; how could you even respond to them? On one hand, a Kantian would respond with the truth, “Of course!”, while a Utilitarian would respond with a quick, “Nope, sorry,”. But which response is better and, at the same time, goes along with your moral compass. Kant and Utilitarianism seem to butt heads on this situation and the appropriate response.
Growing up, we are told that telling the truth is the golden rule. We are punished for lying, with the consequence growing as we did. You are taught what is right and what is wrong, with little to no grey area for debate. This is the way that Kant views society and what he agrees with. Immanuel Kant was a big believer that lying does no good and that we should not act towards the greater good. In terms of the beggar, Kant would very much be in favor of giving the beggar money. Lying as to whether or not you had spare change would go against Kant’s way of thinking. However, there may be an issue if they do ask word for word “Do you have any spare change?” and you honestly do not have any spare change, then you could honestly say “No, I am sorry. I do not.” Another part of Kant’s way of thinking is a type of maxim c...
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...ficial and moral than the Utilitarian path. Utilitarians are alright with knowing that there is someone out there that is suffering and not doing anything to make it okay. The way of Kant would bring so many people out of poverty and give them a new chance at life that they so deserve. It would lower the amount of suffering occurring all over the world a tremendous amount and it would only be a dollar from your life. Say instead of buying coffee everyday, you only drank it every other day and made it at home. If you took the money you saved from make a healthy decision, then many homeless people would have a decent meal and a chance to buy proper clothes to interview. Kant’s point of view allows us to better the world while also thinking about ourselves, whereas Utilitarianism only believes in helping others if it is for the greater good, which in this case it is not.
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