The Ethical Systems of Kant and Mill Essay

2185 WordsJul 8, 20139 Pages
The ethical systems of Kant and Mill: A comparison and contrast Ricardo Renta What part does happiness play in determining the morality of an act in a situation? Can a concept that ties morality to the search of happiness truly be rational? What of the opposite? Is it possible to view every situation with objectivity, never taking into account an emotion (like happiness)? The questions above concern themselves with the part of the central tenets of the ethical views of two very important philosophers, respectfully: John Mill and Immanuel Kant. The ethical theories that these two philosophers laid out clash with each other in fundamental ways, from how reason was defined, to the role that “happiness” played in determining the ethical…show more content…
The second formulation, which Kant titled “Humanity As An End In Itself “, simply states that true morality stems from one's interactions with people. In this formulation, Kant states that humanity is an end in itself, and should never be treated as a mean. What Kant meant by this is that humans, being rational creatures, should never be treated as objects to reach an end, but that the way you treat them should be an end in itself. Kant argued that by objectifying another person, or possibly even yourself, you are undermining the human potential of rationality and will. John Mill's system of ethics, was very much different than that of Kant's. Mill's system, which he based on utilitarianism, placed happiness and morality on the same side of the proverbial coin, rather than on opposing sides. For Mill, the foundation of morality rested upon the level of happiness (or absence of suffering) that a decision would bring. This is not to say that the happiness of one trumps all else, however. Instead, Mill's theory states that the most ethical choice that can be made is the one that brings the most happiness to largest amount of people. This allows Mill's system to check unbridled selfishness, making you take into account the feelings of others. In keeping with the theme of happiness/pleasure, Mill believed that there existed two basic types of pleasure: pleasures

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