One sunny weekend, I had decided to go to Point Defiance; a large park located in the state of Washington. I met up with a few friends of mine and as we were walking along I had spotted an item that was on the ground. We walked up towards it and realized it was a wallet. In the wallet, we found a Washington state identification card along with some cash and credit cards. I did a quick Facebook search of the name written on the ID and it populated with what seemed to be a matching description and a picture of the person on the ID. I messaged the individual and waited about an hour; but unfortunately I did not receive a response. Puzzled by what to do next, we took a second look at the address on the ID; which was approximately 45 minutes in the opposite direction that I lived in, but still decided to drive to that destination to return the wallet. This event was an act of Kant’s theory stated by Shaw (pg 58).
“Kant’s categorical imperative says that we should always act in such a way that we can will the maxim of our action to be a universal law.’
If I had lost my wallet, I would appreciate it if it was returned to me “Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated’ ; also known as a Golden Rule. This idea also fits into the two alternate reformulations of Kant’s theory that Shaw (pg 60), stated in the textbook.
“First reformulation: An action is right if and only if its underlying principle is universally acceptable, that is, acceptable to all rational parties whether the action is done by them or to them
Second Reformulation: One must always act so as to treat other people as ends in themselves.”
SOURCES: Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017
1 Comment for “M2 (Campos)”
The personal example you gave in this post is a great illustration of Kant’s Theory. As explained in the text, the primary principle of Kant’s theory is to to fulfill our moral duties (also known as categorical imperative). You could have very easily taken the personal and financial information from the wallet and used it for your own gain. Instead, you went out of your way to return the wallet to its rightful owner as a good Samaritan should. This course of action is a great demonstration of the second reformulation: “One must always act as so as to treat other people as ends in themselves” (pg 60 Shaw text).