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: …show more content…
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.Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had an interesting ethical system. It is based on a belief that reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. A moral act is an act done for the "right" reasons. Kant would argue that to make a promise for the wrong reason is not moral - you might as well not make the promise. You must have a duty code inside of you or it will not come through in your actions otherwise. Our reasoning ability will always allow us to know what our duty is. Kant described two types of common commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end; and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant in these words: "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will and general natural law." Therefore, before proceeding to act, you must decide what rule you would be following if you were to act, whether you are willing for that rule to be followed by everyone everywhere. If you are willing to universalize the act, it must be
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Kant develops a principle that we must follow in order to act morally. He explains that we have a duty to act morally. Duties as described by Kant “are rules of some sort combined with some sort of felt constraint or incentive on our choices, whether from external coercion by others or from our own powers of reason.” He calls this overall principle the categorical imperative and it is the fundamental principle of our moral duties. All of our moral actions should follow and should be justified by the categorical imperative, and this means that all
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.
First, it is important to define ethics and how its components play an extensive role in our society. The term ethics is defined as “Moral principles that govern a person 's behaviour or the conducting of an activity.” (Oxford); ethical decisions are the ones that per se determine whether or not murder is wrong. Likewise, ethics consists of different ramifications and perspectives from many philosophers. Moreover,
If you had the option to choose, would you rather live in a society where you are treated as a rational being or a world where your contentment in life could all be taken away as a means of contributing to someone else’s happiness. When reflecting upon ethics and the many different theories, it is no question that Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham come to mind. After all, two of the most pronounced ethical theories are Kantianism and Utilitarianism. These two principles are extremely important and have had endless impacts on ethics and the world as a whole. These philosophers, Kant and Bentham, worked to study moral nature and developed theories based on moral philosophy. Although they are quite contrasting,
Since its initial launch in 1994, Amazon.com has now become the biggest e-commerce store in the world. Despite the slow start during its early years, Amazon has skyrocketed its growth around 2014 with its $90 billion revenue and 154,100 employees (“The Amazon Effect”). The increasing popularity of the company is backed up by its convenience and cheap factors that are present in e-commerce stores especially Amazon. The rapid and sudden grow of Amazon pushes the company to expand its factories and internal system. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has been known for his powerful and authoritarian style of leadership. However, as of now, Amazon has raised several controversies regarding its actions from tax avoidances, predatory pricing, and the mistreatment of workers. These controversies grabbed a lot of attention especially for tech enthusiasts and engineers. Even though these controversies are generally labeled as misconducts and bad practices, it turns out these practices are not necessarily unethical when seen from the three ethical perspectives: Kantian theory, Utilitarianism, and Ethical Egoism perspective. These three common perspectives in the study of ethics can be used to evaluate the ethicality of the internal practices and effects of Amazon.
It is clear from the case study that Alistair knows the contract is unorthodox. The problem he faces is whether he should overlook the bribe or report it to the board. The board of directors expects Alistair to tell the truth and report the bribe because of: his position as Chief Legal Officer, the board has a very strong ethics policy and they are wary of unethical activities.
First, all individuals do have a duty to what is right, whether they act accordingly or not. All citizens are held to a duty to uphold the laws, if there was no duty then laws would not exist. Morality coincides with being loyal to the laws, being a disciplined person, and living an orderly life. These essentials are all present in Kant’s perception of duty.
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 ethical dilemmas and morality. Bentham was a firm supporter of Utilitarian theory; which focuses on overall happiness and consequences of an action (EMP 122). While Kant believed in his own theory that moral rules are absolute (EMP 129). Utilitarianism and Kantian ethics have few strengths and notable weaknesses, thus proving both theories implausible when compared to
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
Therefore, doing the right thing is not driven by the pursuit of individual desires or interests, but by the need to follow a maxim that is acceptable to all rational individuals. Kant calls this the categorical imperative, and he described it thus, “act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” (Kant, 2008). This basic condition through which the moral principles guiding the relations between human beings is expected of all rational individuals, and determines how they express their moral autonomy and equality. All rational individuals who are morally autonomous willingly comply with the categorical imperative. They then use it to determine the form and scope of the laws which they will institute in order to safeguard these important conditions that form the basis of human rights (Denise, Peterfreund & White, 1999). According to Kant, human beings have the capacity to exercise reason, and this is what forms the basis for protecting human dignity. This exercise of reason must meet the standards of universality, in that the laws formulated must be capable of being accepted universally by all equally rational individuals (Doyle, 1983). Various accounts documenting the historical development of human rights overlook Kant’s moral philosophy, but it is very clear that, through the categorical imperative, he provides the ideals of moral autonomy and equality
Utilitarianism is a moral theory that has long been the subject of philosophical debate. This theory, when practiced, appears to set a very basic guideline to follow when one is faced with a moral dilemma. Fundamental Utilitarianism states that when a moral dilemma arises, one should take action that causes favorable results or reduces less favorable results. If these less favorable results, or pain, occur from this action, it can be justified if it is produced to prevent more pain or produce happiness. Stating the Utilitarian view can summarize these basic principles: "the greatest good for the greatest number". Utilitarians are to believe that if they follow this philosophy, that no matter what action they take, it
“There is no possibility of thinking of anything at all in this world, or even out of it, which can be regarded as good without qualifications, except a good will.” (Kant, pg.7 393). No other thing that may appear good can be unqualifiedly good, as even “Talents of the mind…Gifts of power…[Other] qualities…Have no intrinsic unconditional worth, but they always presuppose, rather, a good will, which restricts the high esteem in which they are otherwise rightly held.” (Kant, pg.7 393-394). So Immanuel Kant introduces the public to his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, which results not in simply a grounding work, but one that is utterly groundbreaking. This opener, wholly devoted to the establishment of the importance of will and intention, notes the guiding characteristics of a good will. As enumerated previously, Kant recognizes the plausible potential positivity of plenty concepts, but remains of the mind that none of these are good in themselves without the efforts of a good will to guide and restrict them in a manner that perpetuates their positivity.
The theory of Utilitarianism states that actions should be judged as right or wrong depending on whether they cause more happiness or unhappiness. It weighs the rightness and wrongness of an action based on consequences of that action.
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
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.