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Unformatted text preview: Calvin Hayashi Professor Crdova Nov. 19, 2006 The Merchant Marcus Tulluis Cicero wrote an essay in the last years of his life and in this essay, one of the things he presents is a list of ethical problems. One of these problems is a situation where a merchant on an island dominates the grain market. This merchant knows that in the following week, the island will receive shipments of grain. Knowing this, what advice can be given to the virtuous, righteous merchant? Should he tell the islanders about the new shipment of grain on its way, but suffer from lower prices and low profit, or should he keep the news to himself and continue to charge high prices? Through Immanuel Kants categorical imperative, Thomas Aquinas theory of natural law, and the notion of justice, one can come to the conclusion that the merchant should indeed tell the islanders that ships filled with grain are headed for the island and should charge them just prices. According to Immanuel Kant, the merchant should use the categorical imperative as a screen to determine which actions are moral and immoral. Kants categorical imperative can be broken into three parts, two of which will be discussed here: the formula of universal law and the formula of humanity. The first part of this system starts with the formula of universal law by examining ones plan of actionor maxim as Kant refers to it. One then takes this maxim and generalizes it to universalize the maxim from an I will to an anybody can train of thought. From this generalization, one must make a decision about the generalization. The maxim must be put through two tests: The first is to formulate any contradictions or irrationalities that arise from the generalized maxim. If a contradiction or irrationality exists, then the maxim must be rejected due to a contradiction in concept. If the maxim passes the contradiction test, one must then test the maxim a second time, in which a world that uses the proposed generalized maxim as a universal law is imagined. If it is undesirable to live in a world where this generalized maxim is a universal law, then the maxim must be rejected due to contradictions in will. If the maxim passes both conditions, then the maxim is acceptable. By using this formula of universal law, one can determine that the morally good decision is that the merchant should tell the islanders about the pending shipments of grain....
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This essay was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course ETHICS 240 taught by Professor Cordova during the Fall '06 term at University of San Francisco.
- Fall '06