The Role Of Happiness On Kant 's And Mill 's Ethics

1712 Words Nov 15th, 2015 7 Pages
The Role of Happiness in Kant 's and Mill 's Ethics
Corey Guitard (0241740)
Introduction to Ethics
November 18th, 2015
Philosophy 2701
Dr. Rupen Majithia
Immanuel Kant refers to happiness as contentment (Kant, ) whereas John Stuart Mill refers to it as the pursuit of pleasure and the absence of pain (Mill, p.7). Kant does not base his ethics on happiness. Instead, he argues that morality is based on our duty as a human (Kant, ). To do what is right for Kant is to do what is instinctually moral without giving thought to the overall happiness. On the other hand, Mill does in fact use happiness as the bases for his ethics. He proposes that actions are right if they promote overall happiness and wrong if they promote the opposite of happiness (Mill, ). In this paper, it will be argued that Mill 's views on happiness are more reasonable than those of Kant 's because happiness should be the base for ethics. Kant does not believe that happiness is important enough to base his ethics on. For him, happiness is not pleasure. It is not the virtuous or joyful feeling associated with living a moral life. It is simply the satisfaction with one 's condition. In this sense, happiness is put aside by Kant to focus on our duty as a human (Kant, ). He places emphasis on the respect we have for others in the way we live our lives. Everyone deserves this respect by virtue of being human. If everyone refused to use people as a means for their own personal gain and rather as ends out of…

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