ethic week 5


Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

Textbook: Chapters 9, 10


Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)


Kant's famous First Formulation of the Categorical Imperative reads, "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." Kant taught morality as a matter of following maxims of living that reflect absolute laws. "Universal" is a term that allows for no exceptions, and what is universal applies always and everywhere. Don't forget about the second formulation of the categorical imperative which states, "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." It is just as important.

Initial Post Instructions

For the initial post, address one of the following sets of questions:

What are the personal and/or communal ethical factors that may be involved in determining the moral position of either side given a contemporary debate, such as those concerning animal rights, stem cell research, abortion, the death penalty, and so forth?

Elaborate in detail the ethical positions arrived at by using the Kantian categorical imperative relative to the long standing debate surrounding the death penalty or abortion. Argue the ethics from the point of view of the prisoner or from the fetus

Evaluate the ethical positions in part two. You will want to detail whether they are convincing, logical, correct, consistent, etc.

Follow-Up Post Instructions

Respond to at least one peer. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.

Writing Requirements

Minimum of 2 posts (1 initial & 1 follow-up)

Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and an outside scholarly source)

APA format for in-text citations and list of references

Answers 1:

The personal and communal ethical factors that can be involved in determining the moral position of either side of a debate tend to change based on the subject in question. However, they all seem to revolve around certain principles that explain how and why is the action just (Alberzart, 2019). These principles are also derived form an individual’s value system which is why they vary. For example, factors that influence an individual’s beliefs on the subject of the death penalty generally center around their beliefs on the value of human life.

The Kantian categorical imperative places its emphasis on treating people well and with respect as an mean to value them (Rachels & Rachels, 2019). When evaluating the concept of the death penalty we find that the Kantian model to be in support of the death penalty in theory. This is because this model looks as retribution in an “eye for an eye” kind of perspective, being that punishment should fit the crime and therefore in one has taken a life they must subsequently pay for the crime with their own. From the perspective of the prisoner on death row the conclusions drawn by the Kantian model may not seem so clear. If they were wrongfully convicted of this crime the punishment is unfit, if they see value in human life, they find the concept of the death penalty immoral and so on. A prisoner facing the death penalty may also find themselves in a position where they felt what they did was justified (for example, in a case of self-defense) and do not deserve the death penalty on moral grounds and therefore would feel that the punishment was unfitting of the crime.

Evaluating the ethical positions provided above has to be done of a case by case basis. First let us look at the “innocence” argument. Many individuals are wrongly convicted for severe crimes it is possible that the prisoner in question was also, punishment for a crime that an individual did not commit is immoral and therefore this argument could be logical and convincing if the evidence is lacking. If the prisoner claims it is wrong to take human life but was given the death penalty for taking human life, then the argument is inconsistent and illogical because that value is not consistent with their actions up to this point. In the case of the self-defense argument an death penalty sentence is severe and immoral because the individual had no choice but to protect their life by taking another’s.

We can see that some of the arguments hold ups whereas others do not.  This can be equated to the Kantian principle that immoral maxims lead to contradictions (Alberzart, 2019). As demonstrated by the “value of human life” argument from a prisoner that can convicted of murder. All ethical arguments must have sound reasoning from which they derive their conviction or they fall short of being convincing and logical.

Answer 2: 

The topic such as abortion has been an argument among many different religious groups and societies whether it is right or wrong. Kant identified the Categorical Imperative Act as, “act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. This principle provides a way to tell whether an act is morally allowed” (Rachels & Rachels, 2019).  Abortion involves the termination of early pregnancy, thus leading to the death of a fetus. Based on this principle, abortion is an acceptable or unacceptable act depends on whether mothers would agree or disagree that abortion should be performed for everyone else.

According to the CDC, more than 500,00 women in the US decide to perform an abortion every year (Serge, 2020). In addition, the earliest abortion can be performed between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy. According to Kant, "to will that all women have an abortion would mean that no women could have an abortion after the current generation died off. By Kant’s reasoning, this makes abortion irrational and immoral” (Pratt, 2011). The latest abortion can happen at the 24th week of pregnancy which means the fetus becomes viable and personhood begins. In the fetus’s point of view, late-term abortion is crucial and unethical since the fetus will receive potassium chloride to stop their heart, and then the mother will give birth to the body of the dead fetus (Bilger, 2020). Furthermore, many doctors expressed their feeling when they are stabbing the baby in the heart during the procedure is "brutal, awful, and emotionally difficult” (Bilger, 2020).

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