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The Moral Dilemma in the Movie Boomerang – Views of David Hume and Kant Essay


Introduction

There are several philosophers, but each approached the field different. Generally, philosophical problems were addressed through theories by philosophical scholars.

There are different scholars, for instance, David Hume and Kant. These scholars developed different theories to addressed different philosophical dilemmas, for example, moral dilemma in the movie has different perspectives from both Kant and David Hume. There are codes of conduct that are expected of people in the society to ensure peaceful coexistence and minimization of conflicts.

In a society, people tend to have different perspectives on moral behaviours leading to a dilemma. Similarly, this arose between Kant and David Hume in analyzing the moral dilemma in the movie boomerang. Moral dilemma arising from the movie is viewed differently by different philosophers among them David Hume and Kant. This paper highlights the different perspectives to the moral dilemma in the movie by David Hume and Kant.

Boomerang directed by Elia Kazan in 1947 is about a murder of a priest, Lambert that occurred in real life. The movie reveals that the murderer of the minister wore a dark coat and light hat, but after investigation the murderer was not certain. The murder leads to criticism of the government because even after intense investigation, the government is not able to find the murderer.

Moreover, the case had seven witnesses who witnessed the murder but the government could not still identify the killer of the minister. Attorney Henry Harvey later suggested that FBI should be brought into the case to assist in investigation after convincing Chief of Police not to resign from his position due to pressure (McCarthy 67).

Later, an ex-serviceman, Waldron matches the description of the murderer and is held by the police. His gun also matches the gun that shot the minister. He is forced to confess and sign and later denies before the attorney and judges that he was forced to confess.

Waldron had left town after breaking with a waitress and it was during that time that the minister was shot. After consideration of the witnesses evidence, and defense by Waldron, the attorney declares him innocent as charged, but several government officials especially in the judiciary opposes his decision (McCarthy 96).

There are different theories developed by Kant and David Hume and they have different perspectives in analyzing the movie Boomerang philosophically. Moral dilemma analysis of the movie Boomerang wholly revolves around murder of a minister, Lambert, which is unsolved because the killer has not been brought to justice.

In analyzing the moral dilemma in the movie, Boomerang, theory developed by David Hume, utilitarianism and Kantian ethics conflict in perspective. Philosophical, people constantly asks for the right decision while making choices. According to utilitarianism, means justify the ends; results are determined by actions, but not motives or intentions (McCarthy 103).

In the movie, Boomerang after declaring Waldron innocent, the attorney is faced with opposition from different people especially his party members. According to the attorney, the accused is innocent with regards to his defense and witnesses reports and statements. It appeared as if he was being implicated in the case. However, judge in the attorney’s chamber reminds him that he hope his decision is not political despite being groomed for the governor’s position (McCarthy 132).

However, according to Harris who grooms him for the position, conviction of Waldron is essential for their party win, but Henry, the attorney insists on his ruling. Furthermore, Harris reminds him that he might end up loosing the election hence governorship position. Harris is mainly concerned with his business interest in selling a land to the government, which he suspects might not be purchased by the new government in case they loose the election.

Henry tries to make a call to report Harris, but he draws a gun and informs him of his wife’s transaction on the same land. Later, Henry appeals on his decision and reverses his judgment on Waldron because he considered impact of the new government in case they lost the election and considered convicting Waldron to enable them win the elections (McCarthy 137).

According to utilitarianism theory, the means that have been used to win the election and form the next government is immoral. The attorney reverses his decision after declaring Waldron innocent so that his party can win election and protect interests of both his wife and party members.

It is good to succeed in undertakings, but the means used by the attorney to ensure his party wins the election is immoral because despite Waldron’s innocence, he reverses his decision. Moreover, the waitress tries to implicate Waldron so that he can be convicted despite weak evidence (McCarthy 142).

On the other hand, Kantian ethics argues that end result does not rely or depends on the means, that is, outcome of an action is not important in determination of the end result whether it was just or not, but the most important aspect is the result obtained. Kantian ethics is mainly concerned with the result, but not how the results were achieved.

The most important aspect according to this theory is results and not actions that necessitated achievements of the respective results. According to Kant, motive was the most important aspect in judging an action’s morality (McCarthy 151).

In the movie, Boomerang, it highlights about unsolved murder of a minister, Lambert. There are seven witnesses who try to implicate the accused unsuccessfully. However, since the attorney is being groomed for the governorship position, he is forced to change his decision and consider his wife’s interests and party members.

His party fear rule by new government due to their selfish interests and gains. The attorney reverses his decision and considers formation of government by opponents, and his party wins the election. According to the Kantian ethics, end does not rely on the means.

Though the attorney uses immoral means to ensure his party wins the elections, according to Kantian ethics, it is moral because the ultimate goal, winning the election has been achieved. Moreover, the waitress tries to implicate Waldron to ensure that he is convicted because he left her. Though it is immoral, but according to Kantian ethics it is moral because the ultimate goal, conviction have been achieved (McCarthy 165).

Utilitarianism theory and Kantian ethics tend to oppose each other conceptually. Generally, these theories by David Hume and Kant contradict in analysis of the moral dilemma in the movie, Boomerang. According to analysis by Kantian ethics, morality of an action is determined by the motives of the respective action.

On the other hand, utilitarianism theory developed by David Hume disregards actions’ motives in determining its morality. Basically, according to the Kantian ethics, a moral action is one that is compelled by an obligation while utilitarianism considers action that benefit majority as moral (McCarthy 180).

Conclusion

Utilitarianism theory and Kantian ethics have different perspectives on similar moral dilemmas due to differentials in analysis concept. Though these theories are conflicting in analysis of moral dilemmas due to differentials in arguments, both are important in analysis of different moral dilemmas because either theories may effectively analyze a moral dilemma depending on its nature.

Kantian ethics and utilitarianism appear as opposite, but both seek virtuous life in the long run despite the conflict in concept. Utilitarianism may be the most appropriate theory for one situation, but not to all; while Kantian ethics may be best suited for another where utilitarianism is not effectively applicable.

Works Cited

McCarthy, Fabrice. The Worlds of Hume and Kant. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1967. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Moral Dilemma in the Movie Boomerang - Views of David Hume and Kant." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/boomerang/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Moral Dilemma in the Movie Boomerang - Views of David Hume and Kant'. 7 May.

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