For your Unit 3 assignment, you will write a paper based on the theme of "Good and Evil," and the ethical theories of Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.
You will choose to view either the movie Casablanca, the movie High Noon, or a different movie that has been approved by your instructor, and will interpret the movie and relate one or two of the movie's characters to the philosophies of Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.
You will relate your character selections to the following:
Immanuel Kant: Categorical Imperative and the concept of duty.
John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and the concept of the "greatest good for the greatest number."
Immanuel Kant lived from 1723 to 1804. The most important ethical concept you should consider as you think about how one should live the Good Life is his ethical theory called the Categorical Imperative. It is categorical because it applies to all human beings and it is imperative because there are no exceptions.
He insisted ethics should be based on a person's rational and universal duty both to one's self and to others. Meaning: Because we are rational beings, we have a rational duty to perform as we live our lives. And for Kant, the highest claim is the ethical claim of a rational duty. His theory is often called "Deontological" and that simply means it is based on our sense of duty and not on just the results.
But duty to what? Could our duty change? Should we have a first duty to our country, to an ideal, or even to God? And in the case of conflicting duties, which should come first?
As you consider your movie selection, select those characters or scenarios you consider to represent Kant's moral philosophy of duty and the Categorical Imperative.
John Stuart Mill
The second philosopher is John Stuart Mill, who lived from 1806 to 1873. His theory of how we should live the Good Life differs from Kant in that Mill was more concerned with the results or the consequences of our actions. Thus, his theory is often called Consequential Ethics or more commonly referred to as Utilitarianism. He felt the foundation for ethical and moral action should be based on the greatest good or happiness for the greatest number of people.
It is as simple as that or it is as complex as that. Meaning: How do we go about measuring something like "happiness" and by what standard? Interestingly, he and Jeremy Bentham devised a formula known as the Hedonistic Calculus by which we could apply objective standards to measuring happiness.
Accordingly, we should treat others and make laws toward that end: That the maximum amount of good or happiness can be obtained by the greatest number of people. In your movie selection, describe those characters or scenarios you understand to be representative of Mill's philosophy of Utilitarianism and the greatest good for the greatest number.
As you write your paper consider the following:
What characters or scenarios support the claims of Kant or Mill?
What are Deontological and Consequentialist ethical theories?
How do your character selections or scenarios exemplify Good or Evil?
You are expected to use a minimum of 3 citations from your source reading and from the Capella University Library.
Paper Length: Approximately 950 words.
Written Communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA Formatting: Resources and citations should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
Font and Font Size: Arial, 12-point, double-spaced. Use Microsoft Word.
Number of Resources: Cite a minimum of 3 resources.
SmartThinking Submission: Prior to submitting your paper, submit your work to SmartThinking for feedback from one of their e-structors.
Good and Evil in Casablanca
The motion picture Casablanca from 1942, is a romantic drama movie that portrays people and scenarios in the midst of World War II background in Casablanca, Morocco. The lead protagonist, an American expatriate Rick Blaine, owns a nightclub Café Americian in Casablanca and n the movie must choose between his love interest or helping his love interest’s husband, a renowned leader of Czech Resistance movement, in fighting against the Nazi occupation in the Czech Republic. While Rick appears politically neutral, he is shown in the movie as having helped Ethiopians fight against fascist Italia hence his neutrality is only a cover. The thematic concepts that run through the course of the movie show that Rick must choose between his own individual happiness of reuniting with his love interest who is now married to the Resistance leader, or helping her and her husband in their fight for a greater common good that is the liberation of Czech Republic from the horrors of the Nazi regime that is taking over Europe.
This paper examines the ideas that intersect between the characters and scenarios from the motion picture Casablanca, and philosopher Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, as well as how the motion picture supports the claims of Immanuel Kant and of philosopher John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism by making examples of the good and evil within Casablanca.
Rick Blaine is the protagonist character in Casablanca that seemingly only lives by serving his own self-interests while maintaining his cynical world view while the World War II rages. Casablanca, Morocco at the time is however a route via refugees from Europe escape the Nazi and fascist regimes, and Blaine soon finds his club a hot-spot for Nazi resistance and enemies alike to conduct their business. His former love interest enters his night club, amidst all the ongoing refugees’ situation and the Nazi officials that prey upon them, and we learn of Rick and Ilsa’s past affair.