M2 (Levenson)

A couple of months ago, I was driving down College Road with a full car; my boyfriend was in the front seat and our two dogs in the back. As we were heading home, a dog darted out into the street and ran across all lanes. I saw him and slowed down, but a car driving on the other side of the road in the opposite direction did not, and grievously hit the dog. We saw the dog roll under the car, and then run back across the street. We were shocked, and my first instinct was to pull over to see if it needed help. The dog jumped into a car, which was his owner’s, and stayed in there crying. The owner was stunned and didn’t know what to do because it was Easter and most offices were closed; I let him know the emergency vet was just a block away, found the number for him, and made sure he didn’t need anything else before I left.

I believe this is an example of Kant’s ethics. First of all, our textbook explains the concept of duty which is encompassed in good will, and how “when we act from a sense of duty…our actions have moral worth” (Shaw, pg. 57). I believe that the instinct of helping another being forms out of the “formula of humanity” that Kant included in his ideas. This formula states: “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end, and never as a mere means” (Kant & Categorical Imperatives). All of this wraps back around to ethics revolving around having empathy for another human. Universal acceptability can also be a way of explaining this example simply by following the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.

 

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4 Comments for “M2 (Levenson)”

chorsley

says:

Your situation does fit in perfectly with Kant’s ethical theories. You did indeed meet his concept of duty, acting in good will when assisting the dog and its owner. I also can see how this situation would fit in with Prima Facie Obligations. You have an inherent obligation to keep your loved ones safe, but when faced with the obligation of helping others you weighed your options quickly, and came to the aid of some one in need on a busy and dangerous road.

dsbohan

says:

I agree that this event does align with Kant’s theory. You saw an animal in need and although you were under not required to stop the car to assist, you stopped anyway because you felt it was the right thing to do. I like your use of quotes, it explains why you believe your situation ties in with Kant’s ethics well. I’m also happy you stopped to help the poor dog. I hope it’s okay.

emcjannetbratton

says:

I could see how your story fits with nonconsequentialists. Doing the right moral obligation over happiness. I cant imagine how upset you must’ve been when being unable to avoid the dog. Going to the owner not only shows integrity but humility. You messed up but had the courage to fix the situation. While that should be the golden standard in our society it hardly is. Situationally I think this is a morally required thing. However, in our culture it could almost be seen as supererogatory action as not all or even most may stop to help an animal in need.

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