Essay on Immanuel Kant Versus John Stuart Mill

Essay on Immanuel Kant Versus John Stuart Mill

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Immanuel Kant Versus John Stuart Mill

Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill; two opposing philosophers of their
time. Even though they were living in different countries, their works
have been against each other. In his book, Grounding for the
Metaphysics of Morals, Kant argues that there is nothing better than
wanting goodwill by itself. He emphasizes the importance of goodwill
over and over again and tries to show how effective moral philosophy
can be if goodwill is used as the key element. Therefore, for Kant,
the sole foundation of philosophy rests on goodwill. Opposing Kant,
Mill suggests that goodwill does not have the power to be key element
by itself. He suggests that in order for action to be moral, that
action must be followed with consequences that cause happiness.
Following are the few basic arguments of both philosophers.

Let's start with an example discussed in class. Pretend you are a
shopkeeper. If you lower your prices to get more customers, this would
not have anything to do with goodwill; thus this action would not be a
moral one. Yet, if you lower your prices because it is your duty to
serve your customers to the best of your ability and therefore, it is
your duty to lower prices, then this action would arise from goodwill
making it a moral one. For Kant, an action is good if that action
causes pleasure; yet an action is right if it is moral even if it
causes pain (main incentive is nothing but pure goodwill). Therefore,
Kant suggests that the right is independent of the good. This was the
Kantian viewpoint. Mill would suggest that both of the cases include
moral actions. Since the shopkeeper reduces his/her prices,...


... middle of paper ...


... the concept of pain in his
theory as well. In view of the fact that happiness differs from person
to person, the moral theories not based on empirical means-such as
Kant's-is captive to fail, Mill suggests.

It is clear that Kant and Mill opposes in their main ideas of moral
theory. If they contradict this much in the beginning then they would
have to oppose each other more when they start building up their
theories. Most of the ideas and theories they provide are either
conflicting or exactly the opposite. But because they lived during the
same time, one cannot say whether Kant opposed Mill or vice versa. All
in all, these two modern philosophers grew their agreements' stronger
by attacking each others' and this caused them to have their
footprints on two different moral theories: Utilitarianism, and
Deontology.

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