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April 3, 2014

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Eric

Hi Mark,

Cap seems to be making a utilitarian calculation at the end of Civil War...he seems to have realized the actions of his group were lowering utility overall.

I never saw Cap as a hardcore deontologist, but the ending of Civil War was pretty jarring (mind you, I wasn't a fan of Millar's characterization of Cap throughout...he perhaps forgot he was not writing the ultimate version?) in terms of Cap's moral perspective.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Fr. Maximillian Kolbe...these are examples of people holding to principle right to the end, and seem to be in line with what Kant thought...and I guess I always saw Cap in that light as well.

Mark D. White

Thanks for commenting, Eric. It does seem like a utilitarian calculation, true, but I think it's more complicated than that. Cap's not one to compromise his principles easily, but I regard this as a case of two principles conflicting: his principle of liberty which led him to oppose registration, and his principle of protecting innocent people. At the end of Civil War #7, he became aware that his pursuit of the first principle was forcing him to violate the second -- and he decided then that the second was more important. Was that judgment based on a utilitarian calculation? It might have been, in the sense that the costs of fighting reached a point at which he no longer thought continuing the fight was worth the harm it was imposing on innocent people. (If he had been bearing all of the costs himself, I'm sure he would have never stopped fighting. This is why taking hostages is so effective for criminals or villains, both in comics as well as in the real world.) But when you're deciding between two principles, sometimes consequences can be considered -- and I've argued that Kant would have supported this as well, as long as the principles themselves are not consequentialist.

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