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Please carefully read and think about the entire prompt before composing your first post. This discussion will require you to have carefully read Chapter 4 of the textbook, as well as the assigned portions of Immanuel Kant’s (2008) Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.
Kant’s text and the textbook discuss two “formulations” or ways of expressing Kant’s Categorical Imperative, the “Formula of Universal Law” and the “Formula of Humanity.” For each formula, Kant considers four test cases to explain how it applies: Suicide, False Promises, Cultivating One’s Talents, and Beneficence.
Engage with the text:
Choose one of these test cases (it can be from either formula), and explain in your own words the reasoning that leads to the conclusion Kant defends. You should first explain the Categorical Imperative itself, focusing on the particular formula you are considering, and then carefully show how that principle leads to a particular conclusion.
2. Reflect on the theories:
Would a utilitarian come to a different conclusion? If so, explain why. If a utilitarian would come to the same conclusion in this case, could there be a variation in the case that would lead the utilitarian and Kant to come to different conclusions?
3. Reflect on yourself:
Do you agree with Kant’s conclusion? If not, explain the flaws in his reasoning. If you do agree, and you think a utilitarian would come to a different conclusion in this or a slightly varied case, why do you think that Kant’s reasoning is superior to the utilitarian’s? (You may want to consult section 4.3, “Challenges to Kant’s Theory” for help with this section).
4. Discuss with your peers:
Consider whether your peers have provided different analyses and/or responses than you did (or would, if it’s a different topic). If it is, raise some questions about their view that could lead to good discussion about your differences. If your responses were similar, think about a problem or worry that could be raised about your views, and discuss with your peer how to address it.
This week, we will consider the value of deontology in leadership during a time of crisis.
Please watch the international trailer for the movie Lincoln, here:
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This symposium is a chance for you to discuss together the ethical issues and questions that it raises, your own response to those, and whether that aligns with or does not align with a deontological approach.
Your posts should remain focused on the ethical considerations, and at some point in your contribution you must specifically address the way someone with a deontological view would approach this issue by explaining and evaluating that approach.
The international trailer for the Lincoln movie contained scenes that were not shown in the United States because they were controversial in nature, particularly because the movie came out during a Presidential campaign. In the international trailer, one sees that President Abraham Lincoln, near the end of the Civil War, wants to lead Congress to pass the 13th Amendment, which would abolish slavery once and for all, but he does not have the votes to accomplish it. He knows that if there is any chance for his wish to happen, the vote will need to occur before the Confederate states are readmitted to the Union, for southern Representatives would probably vote unanimously against such an amendment. As seen in the trailer, in the movie, Lincoln authorizes bribes of Congressmen and hides the full truth about whether he is negotiating peace terms with Confederate leaders in order to gain enough time to build the coalition of votes, from Union states, needed to pass the 13th Amendment. Your task is to examine Lincoln’s tactics from a deontological perspective. According to Immanuel Kant, a deontologist would act as if he or she wanted everyone else in the same situation to undertake the same act. Did Lincoln violate deontology by bribing and lying to get what he wanted, or did he actually uphold deontology because, as the trailer shows, he believed that his was the only opportunity legally to abolish slavery, and that anyone else in his position should do the same?
If you have a position, you should strive to provide reasons in defense of that position.
When responding to peers, you should strive to first understand the reasons they are offering before challenging or critiquing those reasons. One good way of doing this is by summarizing their argument before offering a critique or evaluation.
You must post on at least two separate days, must include at least one substantial reply to a peer or to your instructor, and your posts should add up to at least 400 words.
Spielberg, S. (Producer & Director) (2012). Lincoln. United States: Twentieth Century Fox.
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