Melanie Dolechek 3/30/17 PHI Essay #2 Utilitarianism vs Kantian Theory Morality is a complex subject and ethical dilemmas yield differing opinions and theories that have manifested through time by intelligent philosophers. There were two influential philosophers’ names Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant, who formed differing theories, in an attempt to set a uniform approach to
In this essay, I will be discussing an article about a woman who starved her two horses. I will address the issue about whether or not the woman’s action was ethical. I will use the two ethical theories of utilitarianism and Kantian ethics to support my argument. I will also suggest a different course of action the woman could have taken to be justified, through both ethical theories.
It is strikingly obvious that both of these theories exhibit substantial differences in the way in which they determine morality. Utilitarians focus on pleasure and pain whereas Kant concentrates on absolute moral rules and human dignity. Yet how do these variations manifest themselves within the context of animal rights? I will first put forth the traditional Kantian argument regarding the status of animals. The Categorical Imperative makes a distinction between two types of individuals. Rational beings are referred to as "persons" while non-rational being are deemed "things"#. So while a rational being can never be used as a means, "things" exist almost solely for that purpose. From this point the implications concerning animals become clear. "So far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man."#
Rui Chaves The Schiavos, Rule Utilitarianism, and Kantian Ethics The case of “The Schiavos” is focused primarily on one member of the family, which is Terri Schiavo. Terri had been in a coma for 13 years. Although, “no one is completely sure what happened but the best guess is she suffered a
Utilitarianism vs. Kantianism 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.
Utilitarianism and Kantian Ethics Ethics is one part of philosophy that will always be studied, and like most subjects in philosophy, will never be viewed the same by everyone. There are so many cultures that have so many different beliefs about the way a person's life should be lived out. Things like religion, poverty, and mental health all contribute to our beliefs in ethics. Some people believe that the mental state of a person or the motive for that person committing a crime should be factors when sentencing time comes. Others think that no matter the situation, a crime is a crime, and no compassion should be felt for the guilty. In the studies of philosophy these beliefs are put into two categories:
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.
Aristotle established what is known as virtue/character ethics where morality is realized in the development of character traits. Immanuel Kant, however, refers to ethics as that which focuses on objectives, where if one has the intent to do well, they will achieve happiness described as deontological ethics. The next concept, utilitarianism, expanded by John Stuart Mill, is similar to Aristotle’s virtue ethics in its dependence on happiness but emphasizes that some pleasures are more valuable than
Utilitarians on the other hand would disagree with Kant on several points. Utilitarians would argue that actions should be decided by the consequences they would produce. Remember that utilitarians believe in the good for the greatest number. In an argument against Kant’s theory, they would say that the
Utilitarianism and Kant’s Categorical Imperative The issues of morality are most clearly expressed through examples of different methods of analyzing a situation. The case of Holmes, an officer in charge of a sinking ship, shows the striking differences between philosopher Immanuel Kant’s beliefs and those of the Utilitarians. After Holmes’ ship sinks, there are twenty passengers in a lifeboat that is only meant to hold fourteen people. There was no time to send out a signal for help before the ship sank, so no rescue is guaranteed and the nearest land is fifteen hundred miles away. Holmes decides to force the wounded passengers and those wearing life jackets off of the lifeboat and make his way to shore without them. This action
Unlike Utilitarianism however, Kantianism states that ethics is a purely a priori discipline, thus, independent of experience, and that ethical rules can only be found through pure reason. Also contrary to Utilitarianism, Kantianism asserts that the moral worth of an action should be judged on its motive and the action itself, and not on its consequences. Based on these ideas, Kantianism propose that an action is good only if it performed out a 'good will '; which is the only thing that is good, in and of itself. To act out of a 'good will ', one must act in accordance with a categorical imperative. According to Kant there is only one categorical imperative, which is to "act only on that maxim in which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" (Kant, 528); and can also be formulated as "act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as means, but always at the same time as an end" (Kant, 532). Essentially, the categorical imperative states that your actions must not result in a practical contradiction, which can be determined by conceptualizing all other people performing the same act. To illustrate, if I were
Before we get to the premises of my argument, I would like to distinguish the difference between virtue ethics, Kantian deontology and utilitarianism. Unlike virtue ethics, Kantian and utilitarianism tell us what our duty is to our fellow human beings. In utilitarianism the goal is to increase happiness for the greatest number of people. This often requires self-sacrifice and it can be quite demanding to figure out what decision will have the best consequence and the most happiness. Kantian ethics, on the other hand tells us to do what would be universally acceptable. Meaning that something is morally right if every single person in the planet is allowed to do the
Kant's theory is different to utilitarians. It is based on a deontological approach, a non-consequentialist approach to ethics. The key aspect in this is goodwill, which is the ability to act out of duty and principle (Seedhouse, 2001). Morality in this theory is absolute, the actions of right or wrong is independent from consequences. The categorical imperative is the foundation in this theory, it determines if the action is
Comparing and Contrasting Utilitarianism and Kantianism An Analysis of Confidentiality 1. Introduction Has anyone of us witnessed a team discussing an ethical decision involving a specific case study with many conflicting versions of the story? It is interesting to follow. Some of the debate participants feel so confident about being "right" that they will persist until they win the hearts of their opponents. Some participants will just waffle and attempt to analyze the situation from variant dimensions (Lukas 72). Analyzing a specific Case Study relating to terms of confidentiality, this document looks into definitions of morality under two independent systems- Kantianism and Utilitarianism theoretical approaches. This paper seeks to
Kantian ethics emphasizes on two conditions for an action to be morally good. The first, that an action only has moral worth if it is done for the sake of duty. The second is that an action is considered right if its maxim can be willed as a universal law. Kantian ethics then is working on the basis of duty and universality. In failing to recognize the multiple aspects of morality, Kantian ethics shows inadequacy as a moral theory. (Hinman, 2008)