The following Short Answer Questions will be centered on a single short case study. By answering these questions, you will be comparing and contrasting how Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant would explain the moral responsibility of the merchant regarding the child example, addressed by Kant in section one of his “Groundwork.” Since Kant gives you his analysis, you will need to speculate on how Augustine and Aquinas would address the merchant’s maxims. All three would agree in this case, which simplifies things. But each would describe the basis of his responsibility differently.
1. If the Merchant is considering whether or not to cheat the child in the transaction in the first place, then what would Augustine say? If the merchant refrains from cheating the child based on the maxim that it is “bad business,” then Augustine would probably say? Explain.
2. What is the natural law regarding the merchant’s responsibility according to Aquinas? How does this idea differ from simply applying the Divine Law to the issue? Explain. If the merchant decides to disregard the divine law, because he is a non-believer, would this free him, from the natural law in Aquinas’s view? Explain.
3. If the merchant is tempted to cheat the child, but considers his duty, how does Kant use the Categorical Imperative in order to “test” the merchant’s maxim of self-interest he would act on, if he decides to cheat? Explain.