Kant 's Theory Of Moral Theory

1466 Words6 Pages
Ever since Kant 's publication of his renowned ethical treatises, deontologists and utilitarians alike have argued over which moral theory is most coherent. Yet, in Mill 's critique of Kant, Mill sidesteps this issue, not by directly critiquing Kant 's moral theory, but rather by asserting that Kant 's moral theory is actually just a form of utilitarianism. Essentially, Kant 's universal law test is nothing more than a veiled appeal to consequences, as Mill correctly claims in his critique of Kant. After evaluating what it means to have goodwill in his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant finds that it cannot depend on any particulars of the action being done. It is not one 's action or even the consequences of one 's action that determines whether one has goodwill; as Kant asserts on page 416, "what is essentially good in the action consists in the mental disposition, let the consequences be what they may". But, how do we determine what actions to undertake? On page 402, Kant argues that it is a simple matter of not making an exception of yourself. As he states it, more formally, "I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law." Kant asks only that, before acting, you ask yourself whether you could will this action to be a universal law that everyone should obey. Would you be content if this maxim, which is your subjective principle for acting, were applied in all future situations resembling this one? If
Open Document