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Evaluate the Volkswagen Emission Scandal from the Perspective of Both Utilitarian and Kantian Moral Theories

Autor:   •  December 2, 2016  •  Essay  •  450 Words (2 Pages)  •  484 Views

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Your task: evaluate the Volkswagen emission scandal from the perspective of both utilitarian and Kantian moral theories. What you are evaluating here is the deliberate decision to install software that would “cheat” emissions tests, by showing lower emissions during testing than were actually occurring during ordinary driving. How would a utilitarian decide whether or not to install the “cheating software”? How would a Kantian decide the same question? Think of yourself as Volkswagen’s Chief Ethicist who has to make a recommendation as to whether or not to install this software.

Suggested length: 5-7 typed double spaced pages, with 1-inch margins and a 12 point font.

Structure of your paper:

I. An introduction in which you do all of the following: (a) state the decision to be discussed; (b) summarize (in a sentence) what the utilitarian would recommend; (c) summarize (in a sentence) what a Kantian would recommend; and (d) indicate which theory you think provides the best analysis.

II. Summary of utilitarianism: here you want to explain the moral theory, and focus particularly on how the utilitarian decides whether or not an act is right.

III. Application of utilitarianism to VW: if you were a good utilitarian employed by VW who had to make this decision, what would you have decided? Was the decision to install the cheating software a justified one from a utilitarian perspective? This will require you to think about what the consequences of deciding to install the software are likely to be, as well as the consequences of deciding not to install it.

IV. Summary of Kantian ethics: here again, you are explaining Kantian ethics. For purposes of this assignment, you may choose EITHER the Principle of Universalizability OR the Principle of Humanity. You do NOT have to explain both.


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