Ethics refers to what people consider good or bad and right or wrong. It is a theory dealing with values that relate to human behaviour; with respect to their actions and purpose. The two most important philosophers that deal with ethics are Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. Kant’s ethical theory is Kantianism or deontological ethics. Mill’s ethical theory is utilitarianism. Both philosophers’ theories have many differences; Kant’s theory deals with conduct, seeking reason for good action in duty. Mill’s theory deals with consequences and maximizing human happiness. However both Kant and Mill’s ethics relate to the important biblical principal of the Golden Rule. What makes actions right? For some philosophers it is their …show more content…
Kant’s first formula: “The Formula of Universal Law: ‘Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law’ [Groundworks 4:421; cf. 4:402].” (Wood, A.W. 2005, p.135) This formula states that one should act in such a way that other people will learn from this action. That one is not to act in a way in which one would not be willing to allow others to act, for example expecting others not to lie, then one is required to do the same. Kant’s second formula: “The Formula of Humanity as End in Itself: “So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, always at the same time as an end, never as a means’ [Groundworks 4:429; cf. 4:436].” (Wood, A.W. 2005, p.135) In other words this formula means that “Human beings have absolute worth, and every maxim we adopt should lead only to actions that always treat humanity, whether ourselves or others, as ends in themselves, and never simply as means to achieving our own ends.” (Mills Daniel, D., Mills Daniel. D.E. & Daniel, M. 2011, p.161) This categorical imperative simply states that people should always treat others with dignity, as an end and never use them as simple instruments. Kant believes that the consequences of an action are not what make it right or wrong, but that when doing
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Ethics can be defined as "the conscious reflection on our moral beliefs with the aim of improving, extending or refining those beliefs in some way." (Dodds, Lecture 2) Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism are two theories that attempt to answer the ethical nature of human beings. This paper will attempt to explain how and why Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism differ as well as discuss why I believe Kant's theory provides a more plausible account of ethics.
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that involves the study of good and bad, of right and wrong. It includes theories such as relativism and universalism. Virtue, Categorical Imperative, and the principle of utility are three ethical standards. Environmental ethics is the application of ethical standards to relationships between humans and nonhuman entities.
Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative is a theory that basically relays the same message that most mothers teach their kids, and that is to do the right thing. The categorical imperative could be easily explained by the Golden Rule about treating others as you would like to be treated. Kant dives a little deep with his theory, however, and breaks the categorical imperative into three formulations. The first formulation is about essentially removing yourself from a situation and doing what is best for everyone. Kant is basically saying that it is unethical to make decisions that affect everyone, but only benefits you. The second formulation is about making sure that
Contrary to Kant’s ethical theory is Jon Stuart Mill’s theory of utilitarianism, also known as consequentialism. Morrison (2011) states this theory was established from the idea that ethical choices should not solely be based on duty, but on their consequences. Weighing the consequences of actions, as well as how those consequences
Another lesson that Christians can learn from Immanuel Kant, is his philosophy that is in line with the Golden Rule. The Golden rule is the principle according to which you shall treat others as you want to be treated by them. The Golden rule implies a person to expect nothing in return. It is a guiding principle for a pure act of altruism. It is one of the formulations of the categorical imperative given by Immanuel Kant. Do to others what you would want to be done to you. Christians should analyze and learn that the categorical imperative exists in the Christian teaching of love. Political or social boundaries do not limit love. It is related to the inner quality of life and depends solely on the feelings and actions of an individual. It
To understand the Formula, it is first important to understand Kant’s idea of ends and means. “…what serves the will as the objective ground of its self-determination is the end, and this, if given by mere reason, must hold equally for all rational beings. By contrast, what contains merely the ground of the possibility of an action the effect of which is an end is called the means” (427). If a person was considered only as a means, then she/he would be nothing more than a tool—useful in a moment and disposable the next. To treat a person as such is obviously immoral, hence Kant’s Formula to teach others as ends—as worth being the reason to take action and a reason that must be considered with taking any action which they are involved. Unlike a tool, people have an inherent worth in themselves that goes beyond their use; they have a right to respect, consideration, honesty, wellbeing, and all categorical imperatives that one may one for
Before Kant wrote this book, he observed fallacies in society such as thinking about the consequences of an action, rather than if the action itself is good. Other fallacies include that humans do not typically think about how a decision will impact their fellow humans. Kant noted these deficiencies in society and as a result hypothesized the universal categorical imperative stating one “ought never to act in such a way that [one] couldn’t also will that maxim on which [one] should be a universal law” (Kant 11). Kant offered this categorical imperative to answer most questions of morality simply by asking oneself, “Would I be content for my maxim…to hold as a universal law, for myself as well as for others” (Kant 12). The reason Kant’s universal imperative is foremost to other ethical theories is because if we were to conceptualize our decision on a grand scale using Kant’s universal imperative, we would un-biasedly conclude that either our decision would deteriorate society or that our decision would be of benefit to society. For example, in reference to the act of lying, Kant explains that a person “could will the lie but not a universal law to life; for such a law would result in there being no promises at all” (Kant 12). Similarly, if I promised a person to vouch for them and tell the truth at a court hearing and instead I recall the situation inaccurately for my own gain or for certain benefits, I am contributing to the injustice of the World. In contrast, if I were to get on the stand and ask myself “what would happen if no one got on the witness stand and told the accurate story,” I would have substantiated that a World with no truth is a World filled with criminals who do not receive justice. Kant’s universal categorical imperative is applicable to the vast majority of moral questions, making it the
The first formula mentioned is the formula of universal law which states “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” This formula means to follow the rules just like the way you would wish for someone else to do so. The next formula that Kant talks about is the formula of the law of nature which is “Act as if the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” This means to act or stand by the truth which can go hand in hand with the universal law as that also states to follow the rules for yourself as you would want for someone else. The third formula that Kant mentions is the formula of the end in itself which is “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.” This means to treat people with value and not just for some purpose they could have that would help you succeed, in other words do not be selfish and treat them with respect as well. The next formula that Kant talks about is the formula of autonomy which states that “the idea of the will of every rational being as a will that legislates universal law.” This formula means that even if one were to receive guidance from someone else, no matter what in the end he or she should decide to do something or not
Monique Sawyer Immanuel Kant formed an ethical based theory describing reason and logic principals according to the evaluation of humans. "Morality and Rationality", is a chapter that discuses Kant's thoughts and reasons as to why humans portray certain behaviors. For example, he speaks about the good will and the motives behind certain duties. At times individuals exercise good will because of the deed within itself. Kant explained that the only good is the "good will" within itself.
Kant’s philosophy was based around the theory that we have a moral unconditional obligation and duty that he calls the “Categorical Imperative.” He believes that an action must be done with a motive of this moral obligation, and if not done with this intention then the action would hold no moral value. Under this umbrella of the “Categorical Imperative” he presents three formulations that he believes to be about equal in importance, relevance, and could be tested towards any case. The first formulation known as the Formula of Universal Law consists of a methodical way to find out morality of actions. The second formulation is known as
Kant’s Ethics may best apply to modern business. Kant said right action based on a set of moral rules, and the right action is supposed to be the one that conforms with these rules, whereas certain other types of action are morally forbidden. He also suggests that people should be treated "with respect and as ends in their own right, not solely as means to other's ends." On the contrary, Mill’s ethics only concern about the happiness of majority instead of duty itself. Thus, the question how could Kant’s “austere” system do better for business needs than Mill’s flexible business ethics. I would say that although Mill’s Ethic is a functional system of moral analysis, but the decision is easily changeable when the consequence change and in
It has three different forms of formulations. According to Kant, all the three formulations less likely have the same meaning. In terms of understanding and formulation though, the second formulation could be easier to understand and apply compared to the first one. The first formulation is known as the formula of the universal law. This formula states that an individual should act only on the maxim through which he/she can at the same time and that it should become a law of nature or in simple terms, a universal law. The term maxim here is used to mean that it can be a rule or a principle upon which one acts (Reath et al,
Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill have created a foundation for the morality using their different types of ethical theories. First off we have Kant, who argues that moral actions are those that have the will operate within a maxim that can be universalized (Wood 119). Kant says in order to judge an action to be moral, one must look at the intention of the actor. But Mill takes a different route in defining moral action. He says an act is moral if it contributes to the intensification of the general happiness overall of the society or system (Mill 14).
Ethical systems are patterns of thinking people employ when questioning an action’s morality. Two of these systems, Kantianism and Utilitarianism, were designed to take the benefits toward society into account through logic. These systems have a major difference. Kantianism focuses on the universalizability (this should be a law that everyone follows) of the intent, Utilitarianism focuses on the result of the action.