I believe that Immanuel Kant would see Carter Druse’s action of shooting his father as moral. Kant was an ethicist that believed that morality was based on duty, that ethics is absolute, not conditional, and is based on reason, not feelings. (Pojman, Vaughn 309) That is exactly the dilemma that Ambrose Bierce writes Carter Druse into in the short story A Horseman in the Sky. I feel there are several parts of the story that flip back and forth between being moral and not being moral or maybe the better words would be that it is ironic on many levels.
The story begins with Carter Druse being referred to as a criminal for being asleep on his post: The clump of laurel in which the criminal lay’ (Pojman, Vaughn 356) yet some may argue that a son shooting his father is immoral and criminal no matter in wartime or not. In keeping with Kantian thinking and philosphy, I think it is the perfect example of putting aside emotions and basing a decision soley on reason and duty. It’s ironic that the thing that rouses him from his state of crime’ (Pojman, Vaughn 358) is the horse that his father is on.
He hesitates to shoot the enemy soldier because of the beauty of the scene; the horse, the valley, and the sky. Carter Druse ponders if it is so terrible to kill the enemy during war. (Pojman, Vaughn 358) Kant felt that it was duty to the It is ironic that Carter Druse’s decision to not join the Legions with his father could be seen as a betrayal of duty to his father and to his Deontological ethicist which is based on duty.