Essay on Kantian Philosophy

Essay on Kantian Philosophy

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Applying Kant’s Categorical Imperative, acting “on the maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will it should become universal law,” to Larry and Rhonda’s scenario, the right thing to do is for Rhonda to take responsibility for her actions. To illustrate, if Rhonda were to ask Larry to take the blame so that she may avoid trouble for herself, the maxim in this case, she should imagine a world where everyone asks a friend to cover for them when faced with unfortunate circumstances. The idea of a world like this is ridiculous. By the “universal law” of Rhonda’s maxim Larry should also ask someone to take the blame for him, in order to avoid certain failures. The only other person in this situation is Rhonda and we have reached a stalemate.
According to Kant, our duty as moral beings is not flexible. We are not to make an exception of ourselves. If we expect people to act in a certain way, in this case as responsible upstanding citizens, we are to act in that manner as well. While it is disappointing that Rhonda will lose all of her Ph.D. support at this moment and possibly postpone her life saving research discovery, this is a consequence that she should have considered earlier when she did NOT do her moral duty and accepted the liability of driving home after partaking in illegal substances. Clearly the right and moral duty in this case, by Kant’s principle is for Rhonda to accept the consequences that are in store for her poor choice of driving under the influence.
By accepting fault in the accident, Rhonda will lose her Ph.D. financing, however, if she is indeed on a path to discovering a way of alleviating disease and starvation globally, there are other financial backers that will find and help her to complete thi...


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...she understands cause and effect. She also knows how to solve a problem. The new problem for her to solve is how to continue with her research once she has sorted out the legality of her situation; a moral compromise Rhonda must make for doing the right thing and taking personal responsibility. Rhonda had a lapse in judgment that ended very badly. While morally, she should be the one to confess to driving, she morally should not have to suffer the greatest consequences. I believe that by choosing to “do right thing” her ultimate outcome will produce the same effects, finding a means to relieve global suffering, will still come to fruition.
By Kant’s definition of Categorical Imperative, and supported by various aspects of Moral Pluralism the choice that results in the minimal acceptable moral outcome is for Rhonda to take responsibility for driving the car.


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