Write a short paper (~800 words) in which the value of safety is discussed from a Kantian perspective (duty ethics).
Write a short paper (~800 words) in which the value of safety is discussed from a Kantian perspective (duty ethics). The paper can address engineering in general, asking such questions as “Must engineers always do everything they can, no matter the cost, to prevent fatal accidents caused by their designs and constructions? Or would some other, less demanding standard be more appropriate? Should some technical systems, such as nuclear power plants, meet higher safety standards than other products or constructions? If so, why?” Alternatively, the paper can address specific safety concerns an engineer expects to encounter in his or her anticipated career.
(Keep in mind that Kantians are not utilitarians: it is never the consequences that make right acts right!)
The paper should include
- A title, and perhaps a subtitle, that is descriptive;
- A brief introduction (~75 words) that introduces the topic of the paper to the reader.
- A couple of paragraphs (~250 words) that explain Kants’s moral theory, in particular
- (i) his understanding of the will, duty, maxim, and the categorical imperative, and
- (ii) the differences between Kant’s theory and rule utilitarianism.
- A couple of paragraphs (~400 words) that considers safety from a Kantian perspective, either for engineering in general or for a specific discipline or industry. You may wish to discuss:
- The conditions in which a utilitarian approach is better than an approach based on Kantian duty;
- Situations in which people are treated as “mere means”;
- What it means to respect the dignity and autonomy of those affected by engineering projects;
- An appropriate concluding paragraph (~75 words).
Word counts are provided as rough guides. Write as much as you deem necessary to satisfy each requirement. Further research on Kant and duty ethics is not required, but if you do use material from other sources, make sure it is properly attributed.