Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a humanistic German philosopher who believed that the human species was the epitome of all existence. In Kant’s view, humanity was itself an objective. The linchpin of Kant’s philosophy is the principle known as the ‘Categorical Imperative’ this is in many ways an exegesis of the ‘Golden Rule’; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Hill).
Kant’s first formulation of the ‘Categorical Imperative’ states that, “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” (Hill).
According to this formulation, ends do not justify the means. The principle restricts one into committing an act, if and only if one is willing to let that act become a universal precedent, this is a refutation of the ideas of utilitarianism that can be used to justify the creation of Dr. Frankenstein monster.
Kant’s second formulation of the ‘Categorical Imperative’ is even more relevant to the moral dilemma posed by the creation of the monster. It has been translated as, “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end.” (Hill).
According to this formulation, to act humanely, must itself be the primary objective of each action. An ethical man must never treat himself or any other human in a manner that does not accord with the respect due to a human.
In light of Kant’s philosophy, no objective, no matter how great would justify the creation of a tormented being like the one created by Dr. Frankenstein.
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