John Stuart Mill And Immanuel Kant

1387 WordsOct 2, 20176 Pages
The concept of happiness is one that has been explored and debated by many different philosophers. Two of these philosophers are John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant. Mill, in Utilitarianism defines happiness as pleasure without pain. He builds upon this idea of happiness when establishing his moral philosophy, stating that the action that would bring about the maximum amount of happiness is the most moral action. On the other hand, Kant establishes happiness as well-being and a satisfaction with one’s condition. Kant, however, argues that happiness is too fully based upon one’s own personal experience to use as a grounds for a universal moral philosophy. Therefore, Kant rejects the idea of using happiness, instead using practical reason, as…show more content…
Mill also emphasizes the idea of quality over quantity. A greater quality of pleasure will always be preferred over a larger quantity of lower pleasure (9). Mill derives his concept of utility from his concept of happiness. Immanuel Kant develops his own concept of happiness in Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. Immanuel Kant in Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals defines happiness as the “complete well-being and contentment with one’s condition” (7, 393). Essentially, Kant’s idea of happiness is the preservation of one’s prosperity. He even goes one step further and states that certain fortunes, such as power, riches, honor and health, are all aspects and desires that are encompassed in the notion of happiness. These desires Kant calls inclinations, or the faculty or object that motivates a person to act in a certain way. So, from Kant’s understanding, happiness is the sum of one’s inclinations. Inclinations are established from empirical means, or based on personal experiences, as opposed to pure reason, which Kant champions. Kant furthers his definition of happiness by establishing the idea that the aim of happiness is in opposition to the aim of nature, which, he states, instead validates reason. He clarifies that happiness appeals more appropriately to instinct, as opposed to reason (8, 395). He also establishes a dichotomy between happiness and virtue, stating that “...making a man happy is quite different from
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