“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do….” (Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. 1)
Bentham proposed that when one faces a decision, he or she should perform action which creates consequences that maximizes overall pleasure because pain and pleasure are mankind’s “sovereign masters.” Immanuel Kant, disagreeing with Bentham’s framework, brought forward a moral foundation that maintains that humans are governed by reason and that actions should be governed by one’s moral duties. Furthermore, Aristotle, who did not directly delve into this debate since he existed a thousand years before the other two, believed that happiness is the ultimate end but not the exact subjective end. For him, performing actions tends to derive from the philosophy of fulfilling fit and necessity and creating consequences that cultivate good moral principals in society. With an interesting dialogue among the three three moral frameworks, Kant and Aristotle’s theories have grounds for rejecting Benthamite utilitarianism. Kant would reject on the grounds that in Bentham’s structure decisions are made in which one does not follow his or her moral duties. For Aristotle, Benthamite utilitarianism does not strive to thoughtfully cult...
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...n “end,” determining then an outcome with this consideration. However, the notion of the body being an “end” would always have to lead to the prohibition of a practice to reconcile with Kant, as Kant believes no amount of pleasure is justification for breaking a moral duty. If this were the case, the utilitarian calculus would not be the same as it is no longer measuring pain and pleasure. For Aristotle, the utilitarianism calculus would reach a conclusion after accounting for the pain produced in society by the sexism generated from prostitution. Aristotle will still contest that the framework of basing decisions on the idea of pain and pleasure is ill-advised because there exist decisions that are not based on said calculus. With such a direct disagreement with the basis of utilitarianism, Benthamite and Aristotelean philosophies cannot be fundamentally reconciled.
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