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Ignoring the theft maybe the easiest response to the situation since I do not need to do anything but such response to the situation may not be the most appropriate. Telling the authorities about the incident may be a good thing to do on my part but it will result to having the man arrested and deprived of his freedom. On the other hand, approaching a perfect stranger and telling him that what he is doing is bad may result to some undesirable responses from the man and it could result to some unpleasant incidents. To decide which response is appropriate to promote the rule of law, let us look into the teachings of Immanuel Kant and Aristotle.
Under the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant, morality can be summed up as an ultimate commandment of imperative or reason from where the duties and obligations of people are derived (Kant, 1785). Kant believes that an imperative action or inaction is necessary to maintain peace and order. For Kant, there are two classifications of imperative action namely the hypothetical imperative and the categorical imperative. Kant defined a hypothetical imperative as a something that compels an action under given circumstances and the categorical imperative as an absolute requirement as an end and justification of an act (Kant, 1785). Kant believes that human free will is the source of all rational action and to treat the action as a subjective end is to deny the possibility of freedom.
In applying the ideas of Kant in the case of the man at the grocery store; we can conclude that the act of taking the batteries without paying for them is wrong. Under the categorical imperative of Kant, some actions require absolute responses that serve both an end and justification for the enforcement of the law. Since in the eyes of the law, taking something without the knowledge and consent of its owner is absolutely wrong, the man’s can be categorically described as a wrongful act. According to Kant’s teachings,
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