Write a brief essay in which you describe a biomedical scenario, identify a moral question arising from it, and resolve the question by applying the categorical imperative to the scenario. You must state the categorical imperative in your essay, and you may follow the pattern found in the following sketch of how to go about writing an ethical analysis that involves Kant’s categorical imperative (read and reread the sketch, noting the intricacies involved in the application of the principle of deontology to the example):
First, compactly and clearly describe an ethical scenario, e.g., Sean wants to borrow money even though Sean will not be able to pay the money back. Second, identify precisely the moral question, e.g., Ought Sean borrow money if Sean will not be able to repay it? Third, state the categorical imperative, i.e., Act only on that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Fourth, put the matter in universal terms, e.g., Ought people borrow money if they will not be able to repay it? Fifth, explain what would happen to the institution of lending in an imaginary universe governed by the law, No one repays money. Sixth, note that such a law could not be willed as a universal law since the law would require what it destroys, i.e., the willingness or institution of lending money. Seventh, conclude that to universalize the plan would be, in effect, to imagine a universe in which everyone who borrows money fails to repay it. And therein lies the problem: in such a universe no one would lend money, i.e., the very institution of borrowing money would not, indeed could not, exist.