Leadership Utilitarianism And Kant 's Duty Ethics Essay

Leadership Utilitarianism And Kant 's Duty Ethics Essay

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James Liang pleaded guilty earlier in September, 2016 to a plea agreement with the government on the account that Liang “…developed a software “defeat device” to manufacture vehicles to appear cleaner than they were.” When these vehicles were actually driven, they produced 40 times the allowed level of pollutants, which the company, Volkswagen, has agreed to pay $15.3 billion in civil penalties such as compensating owners and to buy back or fix the cars that have already been bought. Using two news reports on this case, Liang’s actions will be assessed according to rule utilitarianism and Kant’s duty ethics. Liang’s actions paired to Kant’s duty ethics will look at Liang’s will and the categorical imperative as a whole. Whereas Liang’s actions paired next to rule utilitarianism will look at an action being right if conforming to a rule that leads to the greatest good.
Kant’s understanding of will was that it was an action to be good only if its maxim, the principle behind it, goes along with the moral law. Believing a ‘good will’ was the only unqualifiedly good virtue, Kant said every other virtue could be used for an immoral purpose. Kant drew the line on whether actions were deemed acceptable was in the categorical imperative, which states that an unconditional moral is binding in all circumstances and does not depend on a person’s inclination. To form more sense of this, a person could think “will everyone act as I propose to do?”, if not, then do not perform the act. Also, “is my action, not merely for my own purpose, but respects the goals of human beings?”, where the moral of the actions need to establish a law for a hypothetical kingdom.
Kant also believed in two types of duties, perfect and imperfect duties. Kant descri...

... middle of paper ...

...g bonuses or a raise for creating a new engine to put into Volkswagen vehicles that pass the strict emissions test. Until Liang is caught, the consequence of lying to the public for personal gain outweighs the fact his engines were producing 40 times the limit allowed.
A broad rule utilitarian would observe Liang’s act to be wrong from the start as the consequence of lying to the public about an engine does not nearly outweigh the impact that the emissions are having on the people breathing them in, but also the environment around them.
In the end, Liang’s will was not a ‘good will’ as a consequence did not live up to Kant’s beliefs including the one true virtue to live by. Liang’s actions were also not for the greater good of the people around him and those he was selling these engines to. Furthermore, Liang also did not meet the principles of a rule utilitarian.

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