Horton Hears A Who

Horton Hears A Who

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Horton Hears A Who Analysis In Relation To the Theory of Ethics

The three normative tenets of Kant’s deontology expressed through the movie clip include; utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethics. These three tenets are often used in considering and determining ethical behavior (Stos, 2018). The actions in the animation “Horton hears a who” can be assessed using these components to have ethical consideration. The first tenet is utilitarian ethics. This ethic holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the most significant number (Stos, 2018). It is applied in making a decision that will benefit the majority. This tenet forces a decision-maker to guess the outcome of a decision they make, yet it is not always possible to predict an outcome. Also, this ethic only considers the majority and, in the process, it may harm the minority hence causing a rift between the two parties.

Secondly, the deontological ethic also contributes to considering and determining ethical behavior. This ethic states that all people should be treated with dignity and respect (Stos, 2018). It holds the idea that everyone needs to identify their respective duties and act upon them. Deontological ethics creates awareness that the right choice can have dire consequences. There is a possibility of conflict in duties and a disagreement on the principals involved in decision-making. The third tenet is virtue ethics which focuses on the person rather than the action. It looks at the person’s moral character carrying out an action since it holds that a person needs to live virtuously. It is applied in making decisions with the favored virtues (Stos, 2018).

Horton hears a who is an animation that has depicted the three tenets of the normative theory. The primary moral value learned from this animation is that a person is a person, no matter how small (Sailor, 2019).’ The movie tries to show us that even one person can make a difference. For instance, when people from Whoville were shouting, it was not until the little boy joined in the shouting that they were heard. However small Jojo was, he contributed to the voices and made all the difference. Also, Horton decides to protect Whoville because he believes they are tiny people from another universe. In the beginning, he is the only one who hears the voice of the small people in the speck of the dust. The others were convinced that Horton had gone crazy for talking to dust, and the decision to lock him up favored the majority. All the other characters drag him to a cage to lock him up, believing it was for their safety. However, in the end, they realize that there are tiny people in that dust after they hear the voices.

All the actions and decisions made in this movie have consequences, and they are made to benefit the majority (Sailor, 2019). The scenes also prove that everyone plays a role in the development and success of society. According to Horton, the majority that could be benefitted are the small people from Whoville, whereas Kangaroo believed that her people are the majority. Their decisions could be considered ethical in applying utilitarian ethics because they benefitted the most significant number. Therefore, Kant’s deontology of the normative theory and its tenets is applicable in the movie and real-life (Sailor, 2019). The three principles can be applied in the process of considering and determining ethical behavior.


Sailor, M. J. (2019). Helping Horton Hear His Whos. ACS Sensors, 4(2), 265-266. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.9b00255Stos, S. (2018). Utilitarianism, Deontology and Virtue Ethics: Teaching Ethical Philosophy through a Case Study. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 15, 315-322. https://doi.org/10.5840/jbee20181516