Comparing and Contrasting Kantianism and Utilitarianism

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

Despite the fact that these two views on moral ethics show differing viewpoints, they bring out useful thoughts used in the society today in defining and seeing morality and ethics. To start with Kantianism is an approach to morality developed by Kant, a German Philosopher. The major argument here being that our reason for doing something must be more tangible in relation to emotions and therefore while making decisions our reasoning that is the reason behind making a certain move should be fully dependent on duty. In this case, this means that in making of decisions, one must consider whether what they are doing will be of benefit to another person. His theory therefore works under the idea of reason being used in solving human issues where the reason in this case must take into consideration the Universal Law formula, Imperatives and Formula of End in Itself.

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Therefore, our goodwill while doing something defines what is moral and immoral. On the other hand, the history of philosophy utilitarianism is a very strong and influential approach to standard ethics and morals of human beings. The utilitarianism theory argues that what we do is right morally if its consequences lead to us to being happy and also what we do could be wrong if it leads to unhappiness. John Stuart Mill states that, acts are categorized as being right or wrong if the repercussions are of such importance. Human should thus consider the possible outcomes of the acts they are about to undertake before they do them to ensure full happiness for the society at large. Mill was attracted by Bentham’s theory and attempted to change some parts of it in order to look attractive.

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He began by describing happiness as being the thing we are seeking for instead of pleasure, therefore derived that happiness should be a mental pleasure rather than a physical pleasure. Mill’s criticism is that there are too many situations in which we cannot be able to derive its pleasure rates. This led to rule of utilitarianism that if an action is good then we can promote it by doing it every time and every decision and action should be judges independently. Mill insisted on truth telling by arguing that being truthful is the right thing and it brings about peace of mind. Rationalists argued that an individual can understand the world purely by use their own reasoning and understanding of the reality of the world while the empiricists argue that the individuals understanding and knowledge is through the experiences they pass through.

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Therefore, this theory displays knowledge of the experiences, perceptions and good will in order to exercise our practical reason on what ought to be done. However, it is important to note that utilitarianism does not focus on reason before doing an action but the consequences of the actions. In this case utilitarianism therefore puts into consideration factors such as the ability of our actions to bring happiness and pain to others other than through what we perceive it ourselves. Therefore, according to utilitarianism any action that leads to happiness and improves the happiness of others is therefore morally right. This therefore is a matter of reason while making decisions. On the other hand, using utilitarianism, this may be labelled as immoral as it brings forth negative consequences to the society where sexual work is condemned and not allowed in many cities.

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This is because many cultures define sex as sacred and therefore anything that carries away the sacredness of sex makes have negative consequences to the society hence being immoral. In conclusion, from the above analysis it is notable that Kantianism brings forth the idea of reasoning before taking action. Utilitarianism therefore brings for the idea of emotions, that is taking consideration of the consequences of our actions. Utilitarianism. Norman, R. Review: Kantian Moral Theory and the Destruction of the Self.  Mind, vol.  111, no.

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