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(A) A child is drowning in the lake. A stranger jumps in to save the child. He succeeds in saving the child—but the reason that he jumped in was not to save the child, but rather to be seen as heroic to his girlfriend, who was hanging out with him by the lake.
(B) A child is drowning in the lake. A stranger jumps in to save the child. But he’s not as good a swimmer as he had thought. The child drowns and he nearly drowns himself. While he jumped in with the intent of saving the child, he fails to do so, and instead makes himself sick for a week to come. And his girlfriend dumps him jk.
The first case seems to have the right consequences, but the wrong moral intent. The second case has the right intent, but a poor outcome.
Answer the following questions:
(1) Which case – A or B – would the utilitarians say involved a moral act? Which would Kant say was moral? Explain.
(2) Which act do you think was moral – A, B, both, or neither? Justify your answer using a logical argument.