Morality Of Volkswagen

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A Study of the Morality of Volkswagen in its Development of “Clean Diesel” Engines

In 2009, German automaker Volkswagen needed to improve upon their current EA 189 diesel engine in order to release a new line of “clean diesel”[1] models in the United States. This new engine had been in development since 2006. When the engineering team realized that they would not be able to meet stricter U.S. emissions codes implemented by the Clean Air Act (CAA), Senior Engineer James Liang was instructed by Volkswagen to develop software known as a “defeat device”[1] in order to cheat the emissions test. This software would recognize when a diesel engine was undergoing a standard emissions test and “alter the behavior of the vehicle” causing it to emit smaller
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A categorical imperative is a commanding statement that can be applied universally. If a world cannot be imagined in which a particular maxim is universally followed, then it can be said that individuals have a perfect duty not to perform this action. For example, if a maxim states that one will break promises, a world must be imagined in which every promise is broken. This is counterintuitive because if all promises are broken, then the premise of a promise means nothing in the first place. In this case, it can be said that an individual has a perfect duty to not break their promises. If a world can be imagined in which a maxim is universally applied, but one could rationally will that a maxim should not apply in a particular circumstance, it is said that the individual has an imperfect duty not to perform this action. For example, if someone states that they will not feed the hungry, a world must be imagined where nobody feeds the hungry at all. This is entirely plausible, but one could rationally will that they should feed the hungry. Therefore, the individual has an imperfect duty to feed the hungry. When evaluating the morality of someone’s actions, one must evaluate how closely their will is aligned with imperfect and perfect…show more content…
They defied Kantian ethics in the fact that they disobeyed their perfect duty not to make the defeat device, they treated their customers without dignity and as a means to make a profit, and denied the autonomy of their customers by remaining secretive about the regulations testing of the emissions of their

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