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Kant’s Practical Imperative In The Film The Insider

881 words - 4 pages

This principle is referred to as Kant’s practical imperative and is an important principle for an ethical system which says that each human being is an end in himself or herself. No human being should be thought of or used merely as a means for someone else end. Dr. Jeffrey Wigand the main protagonist of “The Insider” portrays himself to be a conflicted individual as he makes decisions throughout the movie. Against an undetermined future, he ruminates about what he knows is right for example, receiving threats, the phone ringing at odd hours. He makes most of his decisions by weighing the cost and benefits, which may be referred to as Kant’s principle the “end justifies the means”.Analysis of Wigand if he had to disclose the information results in benefits for the good of the public, second it would satisfies Wigand’s desire to hurt brown & Williamson. But in return the consequences or cost of his actions results in Wigand and his family lose all benefits from the confidentiality agreement, second he will face a law suit, third the paranoia of receiving death threats, fourth it damages the tobacco industry and causes its employees to lose their jobs.

The utilitarian perspective would say it is right to disclose information about tobacco industry because, the possible benefits to public far out way the cost. Was Wigand angry at the industry or was it for good of humanity? Would Dr. Wigand disclose information about the industry if he were not fired? Kant would suggest that Wigand does not disclose the information. This contradicts with the principle of the universal law of breaking promises, he should uphold the integrity of the contract.Lowell Bergman a journalist hired to expose the big lies and air the hard-hitting stories. Bergman is more of a wishful thinker or a pipe-dreamer, he tries to disclose the news, knowing the consequences but not the pain. Bergman tells Wigand that he is a man of his word who never betrays a source. Wigand gets encouraged by Bergman, telling him it's his duty to humanity to go public. The principle of humanity treating people not as a means but as an end. The Kantian perspective would consider Lowell actions to be unethical, as he encourage another person to break his promise for a greater of social good. Lowell knows the extent of the pleasure, but not the pain. The benefits of his encouragement would uphold the honor of 60 minutes and CBS news, protecting the public against harm. The disadvantages and the cost would result in Wigand and his family losing all benefits from...

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