What Makes An Act Moral? Essay example

What Makes An Act Moral? Essay example

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What makes an act moral? The reality is that there is no right answer. Different experiences and cultures an individual would identify with will naturally dictate the moral reasoning he/she would act upon. However, certain situations can only be regarded as either moral or immoral. This is shown primarily through the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. He argued that acts such as killing or lying are never justified and one must uphold that in order to be a moral individual. When Dr. Kevorkian decided to assist his patients in committing suicide he was ultimately responsible for the murder of 130 patients. Not only did he commit acts that are morally wrong, but also contradicted his oath as a physician. In this incident, there was no exception or justifiable reasoning for what Dr. Kevorkian did with his patients. This can be better understood through Kant’s reasoning by acting morally in an absolute manner.
It was clear that Dr. Kevorkian had good intentions in helping his patients commit suicide. However his approach to good will was contradictory to what Kant believed as being good will. Without question, his actions were done outside of what would be considered moral. Although in a way he was helping his patients in ending their suffering, he did so in committing the act of murder. He violated Kant’s Moral principle to never commit the act of murder regardless of his good intention.
According to Kant good will is “like a jewel, it would still shine by its own light, as a thing which has its whole value in itself” (582 Cahn). He believed that an action must be “good in itself”. In this case, the act of murder, is never justified regardless of Dr. Kevorkian’s intentions that he may have believed was good. The act of taking an indiv...


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...ated the Hippocratic Oath, but led to question the role of the physician whose job is to treat the sick and not determine when a person could die. Although he have granted his patients what they wanted and believed that he was acting in his role as a physician, the outcome reinforces Kant’s philosophy to act in an absolute manner.
Kant believed that in order to act morally an individual must act in an absolute manner. His philosophy supports the mindset that small events lead to larger more significant events, thus immorally and unethical actions are no different. For Dr. Kevorkian to use his patients as a means to an end under the guise of good intention, he violated his role as a physician by deciding to kill his patients. He violated his duty and good will by deciding to commit an immoral act that lead to the death of his patients who he had an obligation to cure.

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