In this essay I will argue that ethics of happiness are a set of acceptable principles that guide the way individuals should act in a given situation. Utilitarian Ethics is morally right acts that bring the most happiness to individuals. For instance, utilitarian ethics main focus is happiness and what decision will produce the maximum amount of happiness for everyone involved. Kant would say that the actions of somebody who acts justly because of the desire of happiness or pleasure have no moral worth. 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.
Socrates’ views were that in order for humans to be happy, they had to seek it out for themselves. He further theorized that material things did not necessarily lead to happiness, but by following the right path or demonstrating both moral and ethical principles would happiness be found. He felt that since it was within our power to think rationally, then we were ultimately the authors of our own happiness. Following on Socrates’s premise on happiness, was his student Plato, who advanced the theory that reasoning or thought processes, was the most important element of achieving a happy state. Aristotle, Plato’s student, shared an opposing view to both Socrates and Plato in this regard.
Doing the right thing for the right reason is very important upon being a Kantian. The morals of Kantians are non-consequential. The actions of a Kantian are based on the will of that person and not the consequences that come with the actions we take and our behavior. Doing what’s right just because it’s right is the only reason why we should do the right thing. For Kant there are two types of good.
Deontology focuses on respecting the autonomy and humanity of others, basically preaching equal opportunity. Utilitarianism does not specify any means by which to obtain happiness—happiness is its only mandate. While happiness sounds like a great end goal, it is a rather impractical one and the lack of consideration of motivations and means of utility-increasing actions has some serious negative consequences. I prefer Deontology over Utilitarianism for its focus on individual’s rights, opportunity, and personal autonomy. Utilitarianism’s advocacy of happiness by any means is what concerns me about the theory.
Aristotle rejects the idea of universal happiness by explaining how Plato does not incorporate the large number of variants. Aristotle believes that good is not a single, common universal, because what it is to be good is particular to the essence of the individual. One might also argue that other common factors associated with happiness were wealth, pleasure, knowledge, and honor. Aristotle disagrees and found each of these limited to the notion of the good of man. Some benefits that may motivate them to seek better opportunities within their career may be the thought of money bringing happiness and also they will practice living the good life.
These are either the actions are actual or possible. Therefore, Kant and Aristotle have different takes in happiness, and they describe happiness in different ways as it comes from their theories. Both disagree on happiness’ moral importance since they tend to take happiness as just caused by individual moral actions. These are because happiness is determined by whether someone is feeling painful or has pleasure. Since moral is the virtue that a person holds and which give them their dignity, that is why disagreement on happiness in their theories comes in.
Perhaps what Socrates means is more than just an intellectual idea of good. Perhaps what he means when he says that one sees the idea of good is that one experiences goodness itself directly. In that case, se... ... middle of paper ... ... he really has no solid evidence to back him up. If there is no evidence to show that the capacity for goodness is innate in human beings and that people who have seen what goodness is will want to be good, then there is also no justification for the belief that attaining the idea of good is sufficient for being good. Basically, Plato's vision of utopia lies on the fundamental premise that the philosopher who has seen the light will "either in public or private life" fix his eye on this light (517c).
This principle promotes a life of more pleasure than pain by choosing actions that produce more happiness. These are conscious actions made that follow a life of utility and act in accordance with the “Greatest Happiness Principle.” Though Mill’s critics would argue that Utilitarianism is not a reasonable foundation for morality by not fulfilling a life of happiness, creating selfish or expedient people, and reducing human experience to animals, I would have to disagree. This principle promotes happiness and pleasure for all, along with aiding individuals to be less selfish, and an even slate for people of all characters. I find the “Greatest Happiness Principle” to be a relevant and altruistic foundation of morality. There is an emphasis on lives containing more pleasure than pain under the rule that one person cannot put their own happiness above others.
Rather, the good life for a person is the active life of functioning well in those ways that are essential and unique to humans. Aristotle invites the fact that if we have happiness, we do not need any other things making it an intrinsic value. In contrast, things such as money or power are extrinsic valuables as they are all means to an end. Usually, opinions vary as to the nature and conditions of happiness. Aristotle argues that although ‘pleasurable amusements’ satisfy his formal criteria for the good, since they are chosen for their own sake and are complete in themselves, nonetheless, they do not make up the good life since, “it would be absurd if our end were amusement, and we laboured and suffered all our lives for the sake of amusing ourselves.” Happiness can be viewed as wealth, honour, pleasure, or virtue.
A final consequence was examined which showed that virtue is necessary but not sufficient for happiness, and that only a subset of the individuals who acquire virtue might acquire happiness. However, while this final consequence might seem problematic or counterintuitive, Aristotle offers that happiness is actually one of the most divine things and seems to suggest that our concept of ‘happiness’ in the context which makes this seem so troubling is not a fully conceived notion. That is, you can still lead a good or blessed life without happiness, but the most blessed life is a happy one. Works Cited Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics.