preview

Difference Between Kant And John Stuart Mill

Better Essays
Even though at the first glance, the two most influential philosophers in human history - Immanuel Kant and John-Stuart Mill seem to have a lot of disagreements on the central concepts of their moral philosophies – for example, while Kant is concerned more about the intentions of an action, Mill, on the other hand, believes that the consequences of an action are the only justification necessary for an act to be good or moral or right, they still have beliefs in common, such as the concept of the greater good and base their moral systems on a fundamental first principle.
Among all those concepts, which Kant and Mill disagreed with each other, morality (what is good and right) is the most fundamental (essential) one. Kant, who is widely considered
…show more content…
For Mill, the goal of morality is “not solely the pursuit of happiness, but the prevention or mitigation of unhappiness”. (Mill, pp15) For many other philosophers criticized him, by arguing that if happiness means a continuity of highly pleasurable excitement, it is evident enough that this is impossible. For a state of pleasure lasts only moments or in some cases, hours or days, and is the occasional brilliant flash of enjoyment, not its permanent and steady flame. Therefore, to response to these criticisms, Mill argues that if pure happiness is impossible to be always obtained and last forever, then we should at least reduce the amount of pain that may result from our…show more content…
For Kant, duty – that is doing what you ought to do, is the key to morality. Kant believes that humans have autonomy, and autonomy is essential for any human to use reason to dictate morality. Therefore, everyone knows their duty, and should tries to do his duty. It is immoral if people preserve their lives, in accordance with their duties, but not from duty. However, if an unfortunate man, wishes for death and yet preserves his life - not from inclination or fear, but form duty, then his maxim indeed has a moral content. Moreover, Kant’s theory of duty can always be traced back to the theory of universalized maxim. According to Kant, “An action done from duty has its moral worth, not in the purpose that is to be attained by it, but in the maxim according to which the action is determined.” (Kant, pp12) Therefore, to sum up, an action has no moral worth if it is not done from duty, but just because an action is done form duty doesn’t necessarily mean it has its moral worth; the maxim that determined this action has to at the same time be able to become a universal law of