Today’s S4 Class – Utilitarian vs Kant’s Ethics

Is lying always wrong or does Jack Black do the right thing?

In this clip Elliot Vaugn decides that it is better to speed up Tom’s impending death in order to preserve DEX (life-preserving drug) to increase his own chances of survival. Utilitarianism in action or breaking a moral absolute?


On a piece of paper and for each clip:

  • Describe what happens in the clip you watched.
  • How would a good utilitarian have acted in this situation – you must explain why as well as what you think.
  • How would Kant insist one should act in this situation? Again you must argue for your answer. (We only began to talk about this last day so you may struggle to remember that Kant said “if you’re not sure what to do you should imagine that everyone will do what you’re about to do all the time”. If you think everyone doing that would be okay then you can do the action, if you wouldn’t – you shouldn’t.) Remember, Kant is concerned with whether the action is logical – whether then intentions are good or selfish – think Sheldon Cooper!

Need more help? Click the image below.
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  • What did you think was the right thing to do here? Were your reasons more Kantian or utilitarian?