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The Fated Donor: A Case Analysis On Kantian Philosophy,Imperative, Will, And Human Dignity

1462 words - 6 pages

The Fated Donor: A Case Analysis on Kantian PhilosophyImperative, Will, and Human DignityIt is a common knowledge that Immanuel Kant's philosophy focused in autonomy, rights, and respect. To better understand Kantian philosophy, a case is presented below which can be analyzed in the light of his propositions, particularly regarding imperatives, will, and human dignity. To facilitate the analysis, the arguments of the persons involved in the case are presented. This is followed by arguments that support, or counterarguments that weaken the character's discourse, based on Kant's writings and other authors' interpretation of his writings.Here is the case:Some years ago, the nineteen year old daughter of an American couplecontracted a certainly fatal blood disease unless she could receive abone marrow transplant from someone with all the correct geneticmarkers. The parents conceived an infant for that purpose. Sometimeafter her birth, a transplant was performed, using the donor infant.The operation was a success: the older girl's disease went intoremission; the newborn grew into a healthy young sister; the parentswere delighted. Did they do anything wrong?The case is complex in such a way that there is an obvious disparity in the autonomy of three persons - rational agents as Kant would call them - the couple, the daughter with the disease and the new born child.With this circumstance, there are essential things that must be noted. First, the couple has a duty to help their daughter further her life. Second, the older daughter has a right to live. Third, the newborn, being a human, does not deserve to be a means. Fourth, the couple also has parental duty towards the newborn. As a point of take off of his arguments, Kant would have set the following questions:1.Would the individuals will that the maxim governing their actions be made universal?2.Was there an act which exploited anyone's autonomy?3.Was there an instance when a rational agent is treated as a means?The above-mentioned questions would summarize the important elements of Kant's philosophy: categorical imperative, human dignity, and rational agency.Prior to analysis, Kant would have set the premise that the rational agents involved in the case would "act only according to that maxim whereby they [you] can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (Kant, 1785, p. 30)." Accordingly, since Kant believed that each human has a will, which he defined as "the faculty of desire whose inner determining ground, hence even what pleases it, lies within the subject's reason (Kant, 1785)," he would, firstly, take a look at the couple which, in the case, has exercised their will the most.In the case, it is very apparent that the couple willfully conceived another child for the sole intentions of making use of her as a donor for the marrow transplant needed by their older daughter. With this, it is strongly demonstrated that, from the very start, the newborn is treated as a means. In this...

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