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Kantian and Utilitarian Theories and the Nestle Moral Issue - Term Paper Example

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In this paper, the Kantian and Utilitarian moral theories are applied to the Nestle advertising controversy which lingers until today. Applying philosophical concepts to social issues can test the relevance of philosophy in contemporary society. Such application may also help to resolve present-day social issues, as philosophy can draw light on moral concerns. …
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Kantian and Utilitarian Theories and the Nestle Moral Issue
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Download file to see previous pages o new mothers, free or low cost products, improper labels) allegedly designed for the adoption of bottle-feeding instead of breast-feeding by mothers. Outrage against Nestle came to a high point when a Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute attested that millions of infants suffered ailments or death due to bottle-feeding. The institute, however, did not clarify whether the cause was the infant formula or improper sterilization-and-storage of baby bottles and feed. Heightened indignation against Nestle resulted in a campaign led by the Infant Formula Action Coalition (INFACT) to boycott Nestle products globally. Subsequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) imposed a Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes to prohibit advertising which discourages breastfeeding. After years in which Nestle seemed to comply with the Code, the Action for Corporate Accountability charged Nestle with non-compliance. Boycott of Nestle was again instigated, bolstered by the United Methodist Church’s study that Nestle’s advertising practices (free supplies to hospitals, stepped up donation to counter Ivory Coast government’s promotion of breastfeeding) were designed solely to increase sales, thus violating the WHO code. KANTIAN AND UTILITARIAN THEORIES 3 Today, the issue is unresolved due to data issued by UNICEF that 1.5 million infants, who are not breast-fed, die each year. This study was used by the International Baby Food Action Network and its affiliates by accusing Nestle and other infant-formula companies of violating the WHO marketing code. The situation aggravated when a 2003 British Medical Journal reported that 90 percent of health providers were ignorant of the WHO code, while two-thirds of mothers using infant-feed formula were not advised on the benefits of...
Kantian and Utilitarian Ethics have similarities in their common aim to provide guidance on moral conduct amid 18th century modernizing times in which nationalism and industrialization were emerging. Both theories need not be seen simply as speculative principles since the Kantian categorical imperative will have an impact after his death on the subsequent 19th century German idealism in which: “The state had a will, a consciousness and a moral end of its own, on a higher level than that of any individual. Neither internally nor externally was the state limited by moral laws, since it was itself the fount of such laws”. On the other hand, utilitarianism will be the foundation of the American principle of American capitalism and free enterprise, expressed by Adam Smiths’ insight “in which a free market system could combine the freedom of individuals to pursue their own objectives”. The Utilitarian philosophy is also well entrenched in the Declaration of Independence as drafted by Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.
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