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human life be more valuable than another? William Godwin’s thought experiment concerning Fenelon wonderful valet is intended to argue exactly this point. Godwin proposed a burning building with a couple in that, Fenelon wonderful servant. Godwin argues “that life must be preferred which will be most good to the general good” and concludes the moralist who write the “immortal Telemachus” is usually therefore even more valuable compared to the domestic stalwart. Even though pupils today will be unlikely to have heard of Fenelon or share Godwin’s substantial estimation of him, the thought experiment even now stands. I propose, however , that applying the moral philosophy of Kant to Godwin’s problem will demonstrate that Godwin’s honest sense the following is no more infallible than his sense of Fenelon’s literary immortality.
Kant’s ethical theory is primarily concerned with the motivations for performing a moral action, not with the effects or effects that the actions has on the globe or about other people. Consequently Kantian meaning principles usually are meant to rest on a kind of unimpeachable universalizing basis that Kant refers to as the “categorical very important. ” The best way of summarizing the particular imperative should be to suggest that, if a person performs a meaningful or ethical act, this act is merely truly meaningful or honest if the person would desire it to be performed globally. Kant’s deontological ethics usually are meant to replace or oppose a notion of consequentialist values, which views the meaning behavior not really in the determination and in the act by itself, but in the results with the action. Godwin’s thought research is basically a textbook definition of consequentialist values. He actually frames the experiment in order that Fenelon is on the edge of producing his allegedly immortal publication, and so the consequence of keeping Fenelon is usually therefore greater than saving the servant – even if the stalwart is my father or brother. This last element illustrates one specifically shoddy element of Godwin’s reasoning. If we judge moral actions solely by their consequences, this provides us zero criterion to guage between different types of actions. Godwin has put down a supposedly logical basis intended for moral tendencies, but then wants us to consider it self-evident that the life of Fenelon is more important than the existence of the valet, although in theGet your custom Essay