In the case of lying, there always is another option. ... then painlessly killing and eating the animal would be the morally justified thing to do. After all, one ought to fulfil one's duties of virtue and adopt the corresponding maxims. Consider Immanuela, who realizes that acting on the maxim of nonbeneficence is morally impermissible and who instead has adopted, from duty, the maxim of beneficence. Immanuel Kant was a philosopher who believed in a particular way of approaching ethics. Consider the example of the wide duty of beneficence and the wide duty to develop your talents. Rather, she has adopted the maxim of beneficence, but this maxim is currently ‘limited’ by her maxim of developing her socially useful talents. Nyholm argues that the universalization of the maxim of convenience killing yields a world in which the requirement to preserve humanity is violated, and because Kant associates the failure to preserve humanity with a violation of strict duty, this means that convenience killing is always impermissible. I was reading Kant's book "The Metaphysical Elements of Justice", when I saw that the great philosopher had discussed a common thought experiment in philosophy. The duty of beneficence, for example, is not a duty to help everyone everywhere who needs any kind of help. But the issue deserves further elaboration, and it is instructive to return once again to the case of nonbeneficence. The parallel with nonbeneficence clarifies that the relevant imperfect duty should be understood on a parallel with the duty of beneficence. He calls acting on such maxims a ‘violation’ or ‘transgression’ of duty (Übertretung, G 4:424, see also MM 6:390, discussed below). Kant discussed his view on suicide and murder in a deep reading we did in class. Therefore, acting on the maxim of convenience killing is absolutely impermissible, just as acting on the maxim of nonbeneficence is absolutely impermissible. In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explicitly notes that this latitude implies that it is sometimes permissible to refrain from acting beneficently, but he adds an important proviso. In the Groundwork, he introduces the FUL as ‘the’ categorical imperative. Therefore, it is potentially confusing to refer to the problem as affecting the Categorical Imperative in general. “I cannot, therefore, dispose in any way of a man in my own person so as to mutilate him, to damage or kill him” (Kant). I concentrate on the remaining two senses of ‘nonbeneficence’, which I term ‘principled nonbeneficence’ and ‘principled-beneficence-on-standby’. If an injured hiker knocked on his door, Vic would ignore her, and if the knocking started bothering him, he would kill her to stop the noise. This issue was partly addressed above by pointing out that the latitude of imperfect duties concerns only maxims of duty, not impermissible maxims such as the maxim of convenience killing. He feels, and I totally agree, that there is no circumstance that can justify someone killing, hurting, or damaging another person. On the face of it, there seems to be no possibility for the Latitude Problem even to arise, since the maxim of convenience killing simply does not satisfy the criterion articulated in the FUL. The result that convenience killing is always impermissible might seem to solve the Latitude Problem at the cost of creating a significant new difficulty. Thus, the answer should be something like this: the imperfect duty to promote the convenience of others. In order to show this, I first consider Kant's account of the moral status of nonbeneficence and then use this analysis to solve (or rather dissolve) the Latitude Problem. He is stating that if you kill yourself that you are not looking at humanity by itself as an end, therefore you are using humanity as a means. Since such a world can be consistently conceived, she argues, the maxim of convenience killing does not fail the ‘contradiction in conception’ test (1993: 118). For the purpose of this essay it does not matter whether one describes the second type of contradiction as a ‘contradiction in the will’ or as a ‘volitional self-contradiction’—what matters is that it is the contradiction that emerges in the second step of the test, since this is thought to cause the Latitude Problem. The maxim of convenience killing fails the FUL test, and hence acting on this maxim is never morally permissible. In other situations, you will have to choose, and in such cases acting on the maxim of beneficence limits your acting on the maxim of developing your talents, or vice versa. Kant on Killing the Innocent in Self Defense Posted by Al6200 - November 23rd, 2009. Kant frequently states that killing in certain situations (e.g. The wording of the FUL does not permit any latitude with regard to maxims that fail the test and does not contain any qualifications concerning the kind of contradiction they yield.
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