Kant and Utilitarianism
It has just become known that Keebler, the company that makes delicious cookies and other treats, has been using forced elf labor for the last 50 years. Apparently, Keebler is able to churn out mass amounts of cookies, cakes, and other yummy treats because the company is using forced elf labor. A recent movement has developed in protest, demanding that the company set the elves free. Keebler representatives claim that their company is not involved in any abusive labor practices and argues for its right to use forced elf labor.
Expect at least 3 pages and for you to actually make a comparison between the Kantian and Utilitarian/consequentialist points of view.
- First it seems like they both agree that using forced elf labor is wrong, but they would do so for different reasons. tell me what those reasons are.
- Then make some stipulations about elves (what are elves anyway?) that would serve to distinguish the positions, such as--what if we treat elves as animals instead of as humans (do elves have reason?) how do the positions differ on this interpretation. you should bring in some our reading here, like peter singer.
- Then you might propose to look at the cookie factory from either a stock- or stakeholder perspective and judge and use the kantian or the utilitarian to defend the position. you might have to make some stuff up about the scenario. e.g., if you are defending stockholder theory, you might have to say that an investigation proved that no legal violations were taking place inside the cookie tree. therefore, if we interpret business utilitarianism as the maximization of profits rather than of happiness, the company has no obligation to the workers beyond not breaking the law, or something along those lines.
- So what i am saying is that you will have to expand upon the question to some degree and explore the reasons that the two sides might differ depending on the way you treat the terms of the debate.
- Tell me which position you agree with and why. the why will most likely be your intuition, but you need to try to tell me why it is that you have the intuition that forcing animals and elves to labor is okay, or whatever. support the conclusions that you give with reasons for your beliefs.
Overview of Utilitarianism:
Utilitarianism is a unique ethical theory. It attempts to answer “the practical question ‘What ought a man to do?’” The answer as provided by the Utilitarian approach is essentially that the individual should try to act so that the best result or consequence is achieved. These results involve both sides of the ethical coin – good and bad outcomes that develop as a consequence of the behavior. Such consequences can be part of the act itself or after the act. “If the difference in the consequences of alternative acts is not great, some Utilitarians do not regard the choice between them as a moral issue”. (Ultimately, if a behavior leads to happiness, then the behavior is good, correct, or right. If, instead, the behavior leads to unhappiness or any type of negative emotion, then it is bad, incorrect, or wrong.