According to formula two of Kant’s argument, good will is guided by reason. We should follow our own good will in order to gain talents to then help others. Our own good will cannot come from a gut feeling, we should consider our own obligations that Kant has set for us in order to reach our own happiness. We should act to use humanity by not using other people in order to get their means because that is immortal. It is our ability to make our own choices and be rational with the intention of creating good will.
However, their reasons are parallel to each other. Mill argues that actions have to be a focus on the concept of utility, since actions might be morally wrong and still be part of maximizing happiness. In Kant 's perspective, people have to do what is good based on their duty to the general public and not because it is morally right. Kant also believes that people’s rights are not to be disobeyed for the benefit of everyone. Mill would disagree with this theory since Utilitarianism accepts the concept to violate others rights if the outcome brings general happiness.
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”.
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.
Kant states that moral worth is the value of a good will in dutiful action. Dutiful actions done “from duty” have moral worth while dutiful actions that are merely “according to duty” have no moral
This theory states that the only action considered, is the one that yields the most beneficial consequences. This theory is very intuitive and it stresses on the consequences of an action rather than the means or the steps taken to pursue this action; therefore the utilitarian theory focuses on the ends, rather than the means of an action. In contrast, Kantian ethics focuses on the intentions behind an action, rather than the outcome. Kant had proposed that humans are dignified beings and should be able to evaluate their actions and principles on more than just intuitions. 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.
In fact, even if that person acts justly because of the desire for happiness of others, Kant would say that a person’s actions have no moral worth. John Stuart Mill’s observation was that people misunderstood utilitarism as self-pleasure. Happiness should be varied as intended pleasure and absence of unhappiness. Mills states that it "… is not the agent's own greatest happiness, but the greatest amount of happiness altogether…” This leaves no room for opinion because then the greater number would not be contemplated. So who does Mills leave to decide to whom may plan what the greater happiness is?
If the world did not have goodwill, then one may argue that no good can exist. Because people would not be willing to do good things unless for their own purposes. Harrison claims that,“A Kantian follower would say that the maxims are important because it gives us all a foundation for the differences between being morally good or bad”. If one can do an action in some sort that can be put into a universal maxim. Therefore, you are acting ethically.
In particular, it robs those who disagree with these silenced opinions. Mill then turns to the reasons why humanity is hurt by silencing opinions. His first argument is that the suppressed opinion may be true. He writes that since human beings are not infallible, they have no authority to decide an issue for all people, and to keep others from coming up with their own judgments. Mill asserts that the reason why liberty of opinion is so often in danger is that in practice people tend to be confident in their own rightness, and excluding that, in the infallibility of the world they come in contact with.
Hypothetical imperatives are actions that look for the best means to a goal, however, the goal might not necessarily be an end in itself. On the other hand, the categorical imperative is an objectively necessary means to an end in itself, and the action to obtain the end, must have moral worth. If we as rational agents, have any morality at all Kant says, it takes the form of rational, categorical imperatives (commands of reason) and is found a priori excluding all interests and desires. These commands of reason are proven by the Universal Law Formula, which when applied, is a method for determining the morality of actions. How is this formula applied though?