[lit-ideas] Re: When Did You Last See Your Father?

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 19:49:50 +0000 (GMT)

If you shoot the murderer, you can protect the innocent and not lie, all  at 
the same time.

Guessing that Kant has painted himself cornerly by his requirement that a moral 
principle must be universalisable rather than accept that morally right action 
depends on the perceived situation or the specific moral problem. 

Someone who will not lie to save life in the Gestapo situation is warped in 
their sense of values: and someone who is out to kill and thus not treat 
another as an end-in-themselves, surely can be treated as a means-to-an-end 
where that end is preventing murder? [Kant believed in the death penalty].

On a practical note, PE's answer is implausible on two grounds - the task of 
'not lying' can be made practically impossible by sufficiently direct 
questioning; and evading the question may lead to inferences being drawn that 
are as damning as telling the outright truth would be.

Awaiting someone who will say that Kant doesn't actually mean to say the 
Gestapo or murderer should, in practice, be told the truth - otherwise, you 
wouldn't want to hide at his place or anywhere he knew 

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