Kant in “Hotel Rwanda”
The Ethical theory of Emmanuel Kant is based on the idea that morality is based on good will, not happiness. Kant believed that as long as a person had good intent, then the action was also good no matter what the outcome was. If a person chose to do something good, but for unmoral reasons rather than out of respect for the law, then they did not have good intent and therefore the action is bad, even if it has good consequences. To determine whether or not a persons intent is good, one must decide whether they are a generally good person who can have good will, and then ask if the choice they are making a choice anyone in the world could make, or is it a special exception. This is called Kant’s “universal law.” Kant’s “universal law” can be applied to all actions, such as the choices made by the characters in the movie Hotel Rwanda, to determine whether it was good or bad, according to his theory.
In the movie hotel Rwanda, the main character Paul makes several important decisions that save not only the lives of his wife and children, but also his guests, neighbors, and many complete strangers. To most people, his actions would be considered good, and incredibly heroic, but according to Kant, not all of them would be. For example, his choice not to help his neighbors when he sees them being beaten and captured by the Hutu army. His intention was to save himself and his family by staying out of it, but that is not a good intent because it does not obey moral law. The moral thing to do would be to try and stop them because killing others is not respectful of the law. Although he and his family were saved, and he eventually saved others, according to Kant his intent was bad, so it was not a moral choice. An example of a moral choice Paul makes was his decision to stay behind and help the other refugees escape instead of leaving with his family. He had good will because he stayed to help out of respect for the lives of others. He had...
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