John Stuart Mill’s moral system is based on the theory known as utilitarianism, which is based upon utility, or doing what produces the greatest happiness. One of Kant’s lasting contributions to moral philosophy was his emphasis on the notion of respect for persons. He considers respect for persons (a.k.a the Kantian respect) to be the fundamental moral principle of ethical philosophy. His Kantianism premise is a deontological moral theory which claims that the right action in any given situation is determined by the categorical imperative, which he calls the Supreme Principle. This imperative is a command that applies to all rational beings independent of their desires.
We set out on a maxim to achieve the best possible outcome, which brings Kant to his next argument that “good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness” (Kant 18). Good will is the only concept that is morally good without any requirement. Good will can result in the happiness that Aristotle believes in. It is our duty by the Category Imperative that we promote
But despite these exceptions, the process Kant describes of converting maxims to universal laws to test their moral permissibility serves, in general, as a useful guide to and system of ethics and morality. The Kantian Theory of Ethics hinges upon the concept of the Categorical Imperative, or the process of universalization. Kant describes taking a possible action, a maxim, and testing whether it is morally permissible for a person to act in that manner by seeing if it would be morally permissible for all people in all times to act in that same manner. Thus, Kant says that an action is morally permissible in one instance if the action is universally permissible in all instances. In fact, parts of the theory even say that it is one's moral duty to act on these universalizable maxims, and that people should only act on those maxims that can be universalized.
As rational beings we are expected to act and behave accordingly for the sake of the moral good, but with practical reason. This then results in universal morality according to Kant. This was all defined under Kant’s categorical imperative. These imperatives are things that one “ought” to do according to Kant. Kant believed that following ones duty was not measurable by the end means, yet it “is good only through its willing”.
Kant was definitely a perfect world philosopher who had good ideas and beliefs about how the world should work but they were just unrealistic expectations of what people should do. Kant thinks that all rational beings are instilled with good will therefore should strive to always do actions out of good will. Kant also explained that actions should be done out of duty and not inclination for them to be considered morally right because you should do things because they are right and not because its going to benefit us. Imperatives to Kant were a way to check what kind of decision a person was going to make. With all these concepts anyone can see that Kant had a good idea of what people should be like, however, it is just not rational to believe that everyone is going to stop and really think about every decision they make through.
This essay will explain that I am in agreement with Kant’s theory of action to be moral when it is carried out from duty. First, what Kant means when he explains that an action is moral, it is when you actively use reason to choose and determine how to act in a given situation; what makes the action moral is the fact that you use reason based on your thoughts of what is right and no one else’s, nor subjected into any emotional appeal or instinct. To go along with that definition, Kant defines duty as an action that is freely chosen and genuine to satisfy a moral law, which, if this is true to the person, is thus acted out and motivated by a good will. Based on this understanding of “duty” and “moral laws,” I will then argue the oppositions of making decisions with emotions versus using rationality, the value of intentions behind a performed action, and Now that I have laid out the Kantian definitions of “duty” and “moral actions,” I can further discuss Kant’s view in ethics more specifically. Kant expresses ethics differently than utilitarianism, as he displaces the importance of emotions in decision-making; however, he does mention the presence of emotions and feelings without disregarding their existence.
In the present paper, I will expose Kant’s moral precepts and the importance of duty in his Deontological principles. Then, I will evaluate Arendt’s report on Adolf Eichmann to analyze the ways in which his actions were in accordance to or against Kant’s moral philosophy. I will conclude my discussion with an evaluation of Mill’s approach to morality in order to examine the differences between his teleological philosophy and Kant’s ethical principles. Kant’s moral philosophy is based on the categorical imperative (CI), good will, and duty. According to the CI, it is an absolute necessity, a command that humans should accord with universalizable maxims to treat people as ends in themselves and exercise their will without any concerns ab... ... middle of paper ... ...
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).
A maxim is the generalized rule that characterizes the motives for a person’s actions. For Kant, a will that is good is one that is acting by the maxim of doing the right thing because it is right thing to do. The moral worth of an action is determined by whether or not it was acted upon out of respect for the moral law, or the Categorical Imperative. Imperatives in general imply something we ought to do however there is a distinction between categorical imperatives and hypothetical imperatives. Hypothetical imperatives are obligatory so long as we desire X.
According to Kantian ethics, people should use rationalized thinking in order to determine the right action regardless of the bad consequences this action might have; we are responsible for working out the steps to decide what a moral action is. The only moral action is one that can be universalized, simply meaning that everyone can follow the same course of action. He called this principle a formulated maxim, Maxims should be the guide for our moral action, that can be a... ... middle of paper ... ...ll be happy; though often these theories will overlook the minorities whose rights may be infringed upon. Unlike utilitarianism, Kant’s general principle will always apply unconditionally. Utilitarianism and Kantian ethics propose two different ideas on morality of an action.