Deontology: Case Study: Kantianism)

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Ethical Discussion The ethical framework I would like to analyze this case study with is Deontology (or also known as Kantianism). In this framework, there is a strict adherence to the categorical imperative, which consists of two parts: The Universality Principle and The Reciprocity Principle. In the former principle, we must consider if a maxim is applied universally then would this maxim still be ethical. The latter principle is basically a variant of the Golden Rule: Do to others what you wish them to do to you. However, in this ethical framework, there is a specific caveat that you must use people as an end not as purely as the means. These principles are best understood with concrete examples, as discussed below. In Kantianism, there are other offshoot ideas that play a role in deciding if actions are ethical or not; they are: prima facie norms, self-evident norms, and moral autonomy. Maxims might conflict in some situations, but due to circumstantial conditions, one must decide which…show more content…
Using the moral autonomy idea and the Reciprocity Principle, we can say that these actions were unethical, because the consumers were used as a means by the GM Company to just get profits and not as an end to their products’ sales. The Company cared for the number of sales through consumers, but not the buyers’ opinions of the cars or their safety. So, this fails the Reciprocity Principle. In addition, by hiding the information about the faulty switch from the public, GM took away the consumers’ moral autonomies. If the buyers knew that these cars had defects in their ignition modules, they most likely would not have bought the car. So, by not allowing the consumers to make fully educated, own decisions on their purchases and by using consumerism as a means for company profits, GM failed in terms of Kantian

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