We are told, and we all believe, that there are some things we ought to do and others that we ought not. Ethics is an examination of these ought’s or norms of behavior. Lets interpret the following scenario and its dilemma. Your best friend confides you a document with an almost finished project that could cure cancer. Your wife, who ironically works in the same field as your best friend, encounters this document. A discussion is brought upon you with your wife to go behind your friends back and get as much information necessary to finalize this paper. In your hands is the decision to betray your friend, give the documents to your wife and fasten the cure for cancer, as it would save thousands of life’s or to honor your friend request and maintain all of your friends hard work safe. While interpreting this dilemma, it can be approached from both the Consequentialist and Non-Consequentialist perspective. A consequentialist perspective states that whether something is right or wrong only depends on the consequences of the deed, whereas, a non-consequentialist perspective believes that right or wrong truly depends on the intention of the action. I will be comparing what perspective is correct and my position related to the dilemma.
John Stuart Mill an English philosopher believed in utilitarianism, this meaning that a decision should be made whether something is right or wrong depending if the decision would make everyone happy and relieve suffering. This is what we call a Consequentialist perspective. Mill, situated in this scenario, would decide that giving the paper to your wife would be the outer good for everyone. Due to the fact that keeping the paper will only bring happiness to your friend instead of accelerating the cure for cancer and bring happiness to the entire world. Mill would say that this decision would promote the survival of our specie, as cancer is a globally known illness that takes thousands of lives every year.
Immanuel Kant a German philosopher believed that a decision should be made depending on judging the rightness or wrongness of an action based on properties intrinsic to action, not its consequences. This is what we call a Non-Consequentialist perspective, a perspective that will judge a decision by its ethic intention. Kant, situated in this scenario, would decide that keeping the document and keeping the work of his friend secured would be the right decision. Due to the fact that lying and betraying his friend by any means is wrong. A lie no matter what is a lie, it affects a person in different ways and in this scenario it will affect his friends relationship and work.
Even though John Stuart Mills and Emmanuel Kant are both concerned with the moral qualities of action and choices, they differ in different ways. Kant’s…