Raylon Stewart
Professor Cheryl Hughes
Philosophy 110
November 17, 2016
Immanuel Kant
Philosopher I mmanuel Kant believes that we should act not according to what we assume the outcome will be in a given situation , but instead act based on our morals . Kant says that every individual should lead a moral life and they should do this by following moral duty . What is moral duty and how does it work? He answers this question by explaining th e "categorical imperative", which is the fundamental principle that ultimately defines moral duty and should affect the decisions we make .
Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative states that we should: " Act according to that maxim where by you are, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law" . In other words this means that you should act only in a way where your actions can serve as the basics of a universal law . For example , Tom is in need of some money and has no way to acquire any so he goes to you and asks to borrow money . You being the kind citizen you are agree to loan him money as long as he is able to pay it back . Tom however knowing that he will not be able to pay you back ignores that fact and instead promises to pay you back anyway . According to Kant Tom's action are morally wrong and do not adhere to the categorical imperative because if they did then it would will universally that every individual can make promises and not keep them rendering promises as a whole useless . This goes to show by holding our actions as a universal law we are able to make the right decision and do our moral duty according to Kant . Therefore i n the case "lying to save a patient" the doctors who lie and cheat insurance companies in order to save or help the ir patients are considered wrong . They are considered w ro n g because they do not adhere to Kant's categorical imperative and the formation/categorical laws he gives us to determine if something is morally right .
According to Kant's first universal law and categorical imperative , a rational being must act as if the maxim of their action were to become through their will a universal law of nature (Kant Pg . 30) . In other words, a person's actions must reflect actions that every rational being should follow as well . In this case, the doctors are lying to save someone life because they believe that every individual should lie in orders to save someone's life . However, the universal law is that everyone should tell the truth making it never ok to lie despite the consequences . The doctors in this case are excluding themselves from th e law and therefore creating a contradiction . Although the doctors may believe it's their duty to save lives they still have to abide by other laws and rules in order to do the right thing . Kant would say that these doctors are not acting in accord ing to moral law in this case and are wrong .
Kant's second universal law of the categorical imperative states that you should "act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means" (Kant Pg . 36) . What this essentially means is that people need to treat other humans as rational beings . We must recognize that other humans have goals, dreams and jobs just like us and that we ought to treat them as people instead of objects or using them to get our way . According to Kant, the physicians in this case are not treating the insurance providers as an end but instead as a mean . The physicians are lying to the insurance companies and their workers and usi ng them for their money in order to help their patients . Th is is wrong because the doctors have a duty to treat the