Free Essay On Kant's Moral Theory Vs. Utilitarianism
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Philosophy dedicated a great attention to the question of morality and its social determination. The most famous philosophers tried to answer this eternal question from different points of view. The essay is going to determine the main difference between two philosophical concepts: utilitarianism, discovered by Mill, and Kant’s moral theory.
Utilitarianism is a moral theory, which was founded by Bentham in 1780 and presented in his main work Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Later, in 1864, it was developed by Mill, who formulated its main aspects. His determination of the theory boiled down to a principle of final benefit. Mill underlined that its effects have to be spread as widely as possible. According to the authors of the theory, it also presupposes that people, who make moral choices, have to seek benefits for themselves and those whom they care about (Mill, 1951, p. 118). Thus, Utilitarianism supports the idea of the best evaluated choice and its consequences that presuppose a satisfaction of the needs of the greatest amount of people.
Solving only the question of achieving good, Utilitarianism has opposite ideas to the Kant’s moral theory. The method proposed by Kant, in comparison with the Utilitarianism, has a much higher degree of idealization, because Kant's morality is not regarded as a mean to ensure greater happiness. It can only check the individual intentions in terms of its degree of selfishness, but it says nothing about what it means to be moral in a positive sense. According to Kant, morality cannot be regarded only as a way to achieve a result (Landau, 2010, p. 109). In this interpretation morality becomes a purely technical and pragmatic task. Moral demands cannot be reduced to any technical requirements that specify only the best way to achieve the goal.
In conclusion, it is important to underline that the main difference between two philosophical theories is the view on the morality of both of them and their final implementation.
Mill, J. (1951). Utilitarianism, Liberty, and Representative government. New York: Dutton.
Landau, R. (2010). "Immanuel Kant, The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative." In The ethical life: Fundamental readings in ethics and moral problems. New York: Oxford University Press.
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