Kant believes that there is a supreme principle of morality which he referred to it as the Categorical Imperative, whereas Mill held a Utilitarianism view on morality. The fundamental difference is that Kant’ Categorical Imperative holds
Immanuel Kant, like his predecessors John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, believed morality was based on standards of rationality. His influential work, The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, argues for the existence of a “foundational principle of a metaphysics of morals”. 1 Such a principle, he asserts, must account for three propositions of morality: only actions done from duty have genuine moral worth, moral value arises from the maxim its action involves, not from the purpose that is to be achieved through it, and that a duty is an obligation to act in a specific manner out of respect for the law.2 Kant names this foundational principle the categorical imperative. Kant’s categorical imperative is a method of determining an action’s morality based on the action being objectively necessary, and is the first of two types of imperatives. Such an action is good in itself, not just as a means of achieving some other purpose.
Mill holds an empiricist theory while Kant holds a rationalist theory. Kant grounds morality in forms that he believes, are necessary to free and rational practical judgment, namely his deontological ethics. Mill?s utilitarian theory is a form of consequentialism because the rightness or wrongness of an act is determined by the consequences. Thus, deontologicalism and consequentialism are the main criticisms for both these theories. Kant?s ethics of pure duty is the basis for his categorical imperative, which provides the basis for his universalist duty based theory.
Immanuel Kant, a famous German philosopher, was influenced by Aristotle views in philosophy. In his work, the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, Kant argues his view for ethics, deontology. Deontology believe that it is our duty to be morality right. It also says that certain types of actions are wrong or right, but how are we positive of what is right or wrong? Actions are the result of our choices and we should base our actions on our choices.
Kant's moral theory According to Timmons, the field of philosophy is not complete without the mention of Kant whose contributions were major (205). This, he adds, was influenced by his originality, subtle approach and the difficulty of his works. Timmons cites that moral requirements are a requirement of reason, which is the ideology of Kant’s Moral theory; hence, immoral act is an act against reason. Consequently, speaking on the terminologies of Kant we visualize moral requirements as Categorical Imperatives (CI) grounded on reason and can, therefore, get derived from a supreme moral principle. The imperative in this case refers to a command.
Kant's Moral Principles In the Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals, the author, Immanuel Kant, tries to form a base by rejecting all ethical theories that are connected to consequences, and then focusing on our ethical motivations and actions. Kant wants to derive good characters out of contingently right actions. He believes that everything is contingent (everything can have good or bad worth, depending on how it is used). So he is trying to find the supreme principal of morality in all his reasoning. Kant also believes that an action is right or wrong based solely on the reason by which it was performed.
Morality is central to all rational beings, whereby a moral action is one determined by reason, rather than our personal desires as suggested by Kant (1785) in contrast to Hume. (1738). Furthermore, Kant suggests that an action is moral only on account of its being reasoned, therefore the moral worth of an action is determined by its motives and not by its consequences. Exploring the works of Hume (1738) and Kant(1785) on morality and ethics, we will ask the question whether we should do what is morally right, even when you could profit by doing something wrong, and furthermore, we shall discuss morality as a type of game, yet something you cannot opt out of, as something Foot describes as 'inescapable'. (Foot 1972: 311).
Immanuel Kant's Theory Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) discussed many ethical systems and reasoning’s some were based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality. In Kant’s eyes, reason is directly correlated with morals and ideals. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for appropriateness or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. A moral act is an act done for the "right" reasons. Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral you might as well not make the promise.
His solution is that people should be guided by the moral law, which can be discovered by pure reason alone, and which says that any action should be judged by whether or not it could serve as a principle in a universal law. However, I argue that Kant’s proposed ethical system fails in two ways. First, it lacks the compelling power that Kant thinks it has. Second, if the moral law is accessible via reason alone, then different cultures should not come up with the radically different ethical systems that they have come up with over history. Kant wants to establish an true basis for ethics.
Kant proposes a test that ensures that humanity is treated with respect, and not used merely as an instrument. To understand how he defines this test, we must first take a look at the foundation of his main principle, the Categorical Imperative. Kant’s way of determining morality of actions is quite different from other philosophers, and many find it extremely hard to grasp or implausible. The central concept of his basic test for morality found in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is the categorical imperative. “The representation of an objective principle, insofar as it is necessitating for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called an imperative”(Kant, 24).