Kantian And Ubuntu Ethics: The Nazi At The Door Case

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Ubuntu Ethics

The world we live in is a complex equilibrium between good and evil where we are constantly faced with moral dilemmas. Although many different schools of thought have attempted to define the most appropriate code of ethics for humans I chose to focus on the Kantian and Ubuntu moral theories. The basis of Kantian morality is that there are clear and simple moral truths that dictate our actions, while Nussbaum (2003) states that Ubuntu morality focuses on a person’s existence within a community as a basis for moral decisions (Kant & Gregor, 1998). By using the “Nazi at the door” dilemma as a foil between the two theories, I showed how both theories equally fail to define the appropriate code of moral conduct for humanity. The moral dilemma I chose to focus on is the “Nazi at the door” case. This case begins with the situation that you are a family living in Nazi controlled Germany and you are hiding a Jewish family in your home. A Nazi officer knocks at your door and asks if you are hiding any Jews, at which point you are faced with the decision of whether or not you should lie to him to protect the Jewish family. This situation is complicated due to the gravity of how many lives are at stake. If you tell the officer the truth then you are knowingly condemning the Jewish family to
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This is a standpoint that most people could feel a connection to because it provides an emotional level to morally ambiguous situations which could help ease the decision making process. As with Kantian morality, I believe this advantage is also a major disadvantage. Due to the insular nature of the Ubuntu definition of community, a member of this school of thought is forced to morally abandon anyone not deemed important to their immediate relationships. This would dictate that an individual must knowingly choose to let innocent people die in order to preserve personal

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