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Sample Questions

Sample questions

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A Kantian's Moral Solution

Application: A Kantian’s Moral Solution


Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew the right thing to do but were hesitant to do it because the right actions might bring harm or negative results to you personally? What are you most likely to do in this situation: what you believe to be the right action or the action that will produce favorable results?

As you have been learning this week, Kant’s moral theory focuses on the motives of a person’s actions, not the consequences. According to Kant, even if an act has good results, if you perform the act with the wrong motive, the “act has no moral worth” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 44). Central to Kant’s theory is the concept of the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative states that moral rules are universal (i.e., in such a way that your behavior could be deemed universally good for everyone to act in such a way). It also states that all humans should be treated equally and that no one should be given preference in moral decisions (i.e., that people are treated as ends in themselves and not means). Lastly, it states that moral obligation warrants acting out of moral duty only and not for other gains, whether selfish or altruistic. For this Application, you practice your understanding of Kant’s moral theory by applying its principles to a situation that you select from several case examples.

Note: You take the perspective of a Kantian/deontologist to complete this assignment even if your personal perspective does not agree with the Kantian/deontologist perspective.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review Chapter 5 in the course text, focusing on how Kant’s theory may be applied.


Read the Ethics Case Examples document and select one case to use for this Application.


The Assignment:

Write a 2-page paper in which you use the Ethical Analysis Tool to apply Kant’s categorical imperative to the case example you selected to develop a moral solution.


Support your use of evidence in the assignment with references to the week’s readings. In the essay, practice APA style for your in-text citations.




Required Resources


  • MacKinnon, B. (2012). Ethics: Theory and contemporary issues (concise 2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
    • Chapter 5, “Kant’s Moral Theory” (pp. 42–52)

      This chapter explains the origins of Kant’s moral theory and its emphasis on moral obligation. The chapter explains what the categorical imperative is and how Kantians use it to distinguish between right and wrong. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the theory.

    • Appendix, “How to Write an Ethics Paper” (pp. 246–257)

      This appendix provides guidelines on how to write an ethics paper and is a good resource to use as you write papers for your Application Assignments and for the Final Project.