The Fated Donor: A Case Analysis on Kantian Philosophy,Imperative, Will, and Human Dignity

Essay by teecieCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The Fated Donor: A Case Analysis on Kantian PhilosophyImperative, Will, and Human DignityIt is a common knowledge that Immanuel Kant's philosophy focused in autonomy, rights, and respect. To better understand Kantian philosophy, a case is presented below which can be analyzed in the light of his propositions, particularly regarding imperatives, will, and human dignity. To facilitate the analysis, the arguments of the persons involved in the case are presented. This is followed by arguments that support, or counterarguments that weaken the character's discourse, based on Kant's writings and other authors' interpretation of his writings.

Here is the case:Some years ago, the nineteen year old daughter of an American couplecontracted a certainly fatal blood disease unless she could receive abone marrow transplant from someone with all the correct geneticmarkers. The parents conceived an infant for that purpose. Sometimeafter her birth, a transplant was performed, using the donor infant.

The operation was a success: the older girl's disease went intoremission; the newborn grew into a healthy young sister; the parentswere delighted.

Did they do anything wrong?The case is complex in such a way that there is an obvious disparity in the autonomy of three persons - rational agents as Kant would call them - the couple, the daughter with the disease and the new born child.

With this circumstance, there are essential things that must be noted. First, the couple has a duty to help their daughter further her life. Second, the older daughter has a right to live. Third, the newborn, being a human, does not deserve to be a means. Fourth, the couple also has parental duty towards the newborn. As a point of take off of his arguments, Kant would have set the following questions:1. Would the individuals will that the maxim governing their actions be made universal?2. Was...