1. According to Kantian theory, was Alan Turing’s action to ‘play God’ so that ‘Britain can win the war and more lives are saved in the long run’ ethical? Why? Justify using three key principles of Kantian theory. In my opinion it is not ethical. Turning’s actions do not conform to the Kantian theory on the basis that ‘’if a conflict between duties arises, the perfect duty must be followed.’’ Turing’s decision not to interfere with the passenger convoy represents a conflict between duties where saving the convoy represents the perfect duty and not doing so represents the imperfect of which according to the Kantian theory.
1) Act as if your maxim were a universal law of nature. What if everybody did this action? A “maxim” is a personal principle of action, such as “I will never lie,” “stealing is wrong.” If your maxim is not one that can be universalized, then it does not issue from the categorical imperative. For example, if your maxim was “lying is permissible”, then human relationships would not be possible because we would not know who to trust. This formulation, then, can be summed up with the question, “What if everyone did this?”
2) Treat another rational being as an end in him-self, not as a mere means. This means that we should value the other person solely for who they are and not merely use them to serve our needs. Of course, in daily life we cannot avoid this (you use the shop clerk in order to get your can of cola). Kant’s point is that a person should not be a “mere” means. Treat that person as a rational being, much in the same way you would want to be treated.
3) Act as if your maxim would harmonize with a kingdom of ends. This means that the action should be consistent with a world in which people are treated as ends in themselves.
2. What would you have done if you were Alan Turing?
If I was Alan Turing, I would not save the passenger convoy. It is logical and ethically moral to save more lives in exchange of sacrifice. In this regard, the Kantian theory in large may not be implied.