The Philosophy of National Treasure

This semester in my Environmental Ethics class we have discussed the objectivists, relativists, utilitarian, and deontology theories of philosophy. Most of the people in the class can come up with examples that challenge these theories almost instantly after learning them, but I take a little longer to understand these concepts.

Our professor told us that he wrote his graduate thesis about deontology and utilitarianism and how you cant consider both when making a moral decision. Deontology considers the motives and reasons for choosing to make a decision. Utilitarianism considers the consequences and only the consequences that benefits the majority of the people.

Nicolas Cage’s character has to choose first if he should steal the Declaration of Independence, but then had to decide what the punishment for his actions should be.

In the movie National Treasure Nicolas Cage and Justin Bartha follow a set of riddles and clues to find a treasure that has been hidden for centuries. During which, they must steal the Declaration of Independence. Now consider this act, to most this seems immoral act-after all it is wrong to steal- but in the movie they are stealing it for the “right” reasons. Since their intentions were good and moral, they were trying to protect the Constitution and keep it out of the hands of the “bad” guys. From a deontology, this would be a moral act because the intentions were good. Continue reading “The Philosophy of National Treasure”