Since different people’s interests often turn out to be mutually exclusive, there are numerous situations, in which moral quandaries take place. For instance, it is possible to imagine a woman who has a seriously ill son. Her child needs an expensive drug to recover and survive, but the woman has already spent all of her money on treatment and possesses no property to be sold. Local banks refuse to accommodate her with a loan since there is no chance that she will return the money on time. In desperation, she creates a few fake social media accounts to cheat people online and swindle money out of them.
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To apply the principles of Kant’s deontological ethics to the example, it is pivotal to understand the meaning of duty. Unlike the proponents of utilitarianism who rely on actions’ outcomes to define if some decisions are appropriate, Kant stresses the significance of moral duty (Paquette et al. 32). Therefore, for actions to be morally acceptable, they need to be caused by motivations that do not contradict the established moral standards.
The woman in the example decides to steal money from other people to increase her son’s chances to survive, which means that parental responsibilities and love cause her to do it. However, her actions still qualify as a morally inappropriate thing – a crime. Another aspect of Kant’s system is the way to treat others to act morally. Based on his theory, people should always be regarded as “an end in themselves” instead of “a means to an end” (Paquette et al. 32). In the described situation, despite her high-pitched ambitions, the woman uses other people as resources. She does not consider the outcomes of her actions and pays no attention to other people’s life circumstances and financial needs. Therefore, the strategy that she uses is morally inappropriate in a deontological sense.
Paquette, Michael, et al. “Do the Ends Justify the Means? Dialogue, Development Communication, and Deontological Ethics.” Public Relations Review, vol. 41, no. 1, 2015, pp. 30-39.