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Kant and the Unlicensed Engineer - Essay Example

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Finally I will argue that despite some shortcoming, Kant’s theory is the best for use in professional life. Kant’s theory of morality is categorized as deontological, which means its based in the idea that you have the moral duty to always pursue or avoid certain actions. Deontological ethics are often described in opposition to consequentialist ethics, which evaluate the morality of an action entirely on its consequences. A consequentialist will maintain that regardless of the act committed, if it results in an overall benefit to everyone involved, that act is permissible, and if it results in a greater amount of harm than good, then it is not permissible. In contrast a deontologist evaluates the morality of an act strictly on the act itself. Even if following your moral duty results in dire consequences, you must still strictly adhere to it. Kant’s particular version of deontological ethics is based in what he calls the Categorical Imperative. This is a system used to determine which actions are your duty to carry out or avoid. The system works as follows: to decide whether an act is moral first formulate a rule that summarizes your reason for committing the act. (Johnson, sec. 5). Then, conceptualize what would result if the rule were made a universal law, such that anyone in any circumstance must always follow it (Johnson, sec. 5). Third, see whether a world is even conceivable where every person must act upon that rule, and if it is conceivable, whether you would rationally will that it become an obligatory law (Johnson, sec. 5). If so, then that action is morally permissible (Johnson, sec. 5). Kant further delineates categories of duties based upon results gained from the Categorical Imperative. These categories are perfect duties, imperfect duties, and morally permissible acts. If you formulate a maxim, which fails the third step in the CI, then it is a perfect duty, meaning you have an absolute duty to refrain from the act in any circumstances, regardless of the consequences (Johnson, sec. 5). If your maxim passes the third step but fails the fourth, then you have an imperfect duty, where you should refrain from the action in most cases, most of the time (Johnson, sec. 5). Only if the maxim passes every step, is it considered morally permissible, meaning it is something that is always okay to do. Kant’s theory of punishment is known as a retributivist theory. A retributivist theory of punishment is seen in contrast to a consequentialist theory of punishment, which would define as crime, only those actions which result in harm to the overall good of society. The punishment recommended for the crime, would be such that more overall good than suffering results from the punishment. In other words, the punishment should result in the greatest possible amount of deterrence, in exchange for the least amount of suffering imposed on the criminal, and the greatest chance of rehabilitation allowing for the punished to reenter as a productive member of society. A retributivist theory punishes based on desert. That is, you should be given the punishment you deserve. The retributivist believes that the consequences of an action should have nothing to with its status as a crime, and it should not be the goal of punishment to deter crime. The goal of punishment is simply to teach the criminal a lesson, by inflicting the same suffering on the criminal that he caused through his crime. Kant’s specific formulation of retributivism is based on two principles: the principle of equality and the principle of ...Show more
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The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the case of the unlicensed engineer using the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. I will provide a detailed description of Kant’s deontological ethics as well as his retributivist theory of punishment…
Kant and the Unlicensed Engineer
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