Mill vs. Kant: An Evaluation of their Approaches Towards Ethics John Stuart Mill and Emmanuel Kant both have very distinct ideals and principles. Though they were both philosophers within the same century, but their ideals did not align with each other. Mill focused more on overall happiness, while Kant focused more on the reasons people have for committing certain actions. This is important because it makes the validity of actions and their moral worth put in question. The problem being addressed is what each of the theories implies about the actions people make, and that is important because it may lead people to live their lives in a different way. John Stuart Mill was one of the great philosophers of the 19th century. His works have …show more content…
Even if you factor in about 25 more negative units for killing, the overall happiness is still worth more. Therefore, Mill would say that it is morally acceptable. In both these examples, Mill thinks people should act on something based on its utility and not necessarily whether it is deemed right by societies standards. Some people think that Utilitarianism principles conflict with justice. This is because according to the principle, it is okay to violate people’s moral rights and treat people different depending on the situation. Mill tries to handle these conflicts by explaining what justice means. He says that justice has risen from people want to conform to the law and it is therefore extremely arbitrary. He says that people believe in justice if they want to, and that many people have different views on what is justified. Kant’s approach differs from Mill’s. Kant’s work that we are examining is the Metaphysics of Morals which depends heavily on rationality. Kant thinks that people’s moral truths come from a universal set of reasons that come naturally to all people who take the time to think about the consequences of their actions. His main theory relies on the categorical imperative which essentially means that a person should never act unless it is in a way that they can consistently say the maxim of their action will become a
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Mill claims that his purpose in writing on liberty is to assert what he describes one very simple principle. The principle that ought to govern society and that principle has come to be known as the harm principle. The individuals own good either physical or moral is not a sufficient warrant for societal intervention. The individual cannot rightfully be compelled to do or not to do because it will be better for him to do so because it is better for him to do so because it will make him happier.
Utilitarianism’s believe in that only the outcomes matter when it comes to decisions and morality, however, those outcomes can also be questioned. Mill forms the framework of utilitarianism by discussing it in a way that makes assumptions; these objections can also be questioned against also.
Mill has an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” standpoint. If a person commits a terrible crime, they are nowhere near reaching a desirable end, nor do they have capacity to be virtuous, as Aristotle would say. If somebody is guilty of murder, then life in jail is too mild of a punishment for the crime he committed. It goes the other way around too. If somebody is guilty of theft, then life in jail may be too hard of a punishment for that particular crime. Mill believes the only efficient punishment is one that is exactly equal to the crime. He doesn’t think a murderer should be allowed to live on with the potential to murder again. Another thing Mill focuses on is general responses among a society. He believes the only way to find desirable pleasure is to ask people and get a general response. So if you asked the family of a murder victim what they would like to see happen to the murderer, a probable general response would be to have him sentenced to death as well, and that is exactly what should happen.
Mill focuses more on the second of the two as the most effective justification of the death penalty. Mill states in his address “There is not, I should think, any human infliction which makes an impression on the imagination so entirely out of proportion to its real severity as the punishment of death.” Crime in itself causes suffering, to reduce crime by creating a fear of penalty is a utilitarian practice.
In this paper I am going to attempt to answer a question utilizing a little help from one of two philosophers. First of all the question I will be answering is “Should the moral value of an action be determined by the intentions/character that inspire the action, or the consequences that result from the action?” Second, the philosophers I am going to discuss throughout this paper are Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. Now before I tell you my answer to this question I am going to explain these who these two philosophers are and what their viewpoints on ethics are.
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
In regards to morality, Mill anchors its definition on the premises of the greatest happiness principle stated above. Unlike Aristotle who puts emphasis on the agent (the person themselves) in regards to acting morally, Mill is very indifferent and states that the character of the person and their motives do not matter only the consequence of those actions matter. For Mill, the morality of the action only depends on whether that action will produce pleasure for greatest number of people. As state before, he explains that pleasure leads to happiness, and happiness is the ultimate goal of each individual. However, morality is “the rules and precepts for human conduct,” and not simply the causes of human behavior. Desire may drive human actions, but that doesn’t mean that desire should propel human actions. Morality is the ideal, not the reality.
Before Mill could analyse the concepts of Utilitarianism his first action was to break down any barriers that caused people to turn away from its insights. All actions exist as a means to promote a particular end; thus an action may only be deemed right or wrong based on the desired outcome of said action. If the sought out ends cause suffering towards others, the actions will be considered to have been bad; just the same as if an end causes happiness, the actions that caused this result will be deemed as good. Therefore, having a standard as to how humans can be judged between good and bad is necessary. Mill argues that “particular truth precedes general theory” (p. 2), unlike the rules of applicable sciences we know of, ethics demands ‘general laws’ in order for
Mill defines happiness as the production of happiness and the absence of pain. Unlike Kant's focus on the individual, Mill believed in considering the happiness of everyone that might be affected by the action. People should seek the greatest amount of happiness possible for all involved.
Mill's principle of utility seeks for the logical rationality of ethics through the consequences of actions as the consideration determining their morality, therefore the possession of happiness as opposed to the avoidance of pain. Utilitarianism might be an instance of a more general theory of right consequentialism, which supports that right and wrong can only, be reviewed by the kindness of consequences. This common kind of theory can be easily understood by considering the form of consequentialism. Consequentialism states that an act is right if, of those accessible to the agent at the time, it would produce the most overall value in the end. Utilitarian
I will be explaining John Stuart Mill’s view on ethics. This includes explaining the “Greatest Happiness Principle”, happiness, unhappiness, quality of pleasure, lying, and the relevance of time with his view. I will then explain how I agree with the principle of Rule Utilitarianism. I will also consider the objection of conflicting rules in Rule Utilitarianism as well as that of negative responsibility, giving my response to each.
There are three main objections against utilitarian view in which Mill responds to. The first being that, the utilitarian standard of right and wrong is “too high for humanity” (Utilitarianism, 418). In the reading it states that, “it is exacting too much to require that people shall always act from the inducement of promoting the general interests of society” (Utilitarianism, 418). This is implying that that it would too high of a person to have the ability to always make a decision based on how it will affect people in a society. According to Mill, this objection is misunderstanding the meaning of utilitarianism. The meaning of Utilitarian view does not say that people
In his essay, Utilitarianism Mill elaborates on Utilitarianism as a moral theory and responds to misconceptions about it. Utilitarianism, in Mill’s words, is the view that »actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.«1 In that way, Utilitarianism offers an answer to the fundamental question Ethics is concerned about: ‘How should one live?’ or ‘What is the good or right way to live?’.
The argument Mill makes is characterized by a few premises. The first is that society is known to enforce opinions and beliefs upon the individual in hopes of maintaining a utilitarian good based upon a common set of truths that the society believes in. Due to this, individual liberty is often suppressed for the good of everyone else. When someone has dissenting views, they will be suppressed by the majority. Yet Mill’s believes that dissent is good because it helps to progress society by disconfirming our believes through listening and reasoning with those who are different. By addressing different views, people are able to develop their own ideas and as a society we are able to reach a better understanding of a utilitarian truth. For Mill, humans are not