Kant And John Stuart Mill 's Utility Based, Utilitarian Moral Theory

1551 WordsApr 26, 20167 Pages
One of the most intriguing aspects of moral theory is not merely analyzing disagreements between renowned, intellectual giants, but examining the ways in which near polar ideologies can arise to similar conclusions based on vastly different rationales. Immanuel Kant 's duty-based, deontological moral theory and John Stuart Mill 's utility-based, utilitarian moral theory are prime examples of antithetical viewpoints that share similar outlooks to ethical subjects such as lying and helping those in need through vastly different lines of reasoning. The fundamental basis of Kant 's moral theory is that the only universal good is the good will and, more specifically, it is our duty to perform the good will at all times for the right reasons. In the opening paragraph of the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant defines the good will as "good without qualification"(7). He further qualifies his definition by stating that, while many traits or gestures (i.e. the quality of temperance or a gift of riches) may seem to satisfy the good will, if the intention of the act is not performed for the right reason, it is not good. "A good will is good not because of what it effects of accomplishes...it is good only through its willing, i.e. it is good in itself" (7). The defining factor of intrinsic goodness, in Kant 's view, is the reason or motive. In order for the good will to remain a universal good, Kant argues that the reason for action must be out of respect for duty to moral
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