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John Stuart Mill Vs. Immanuel Kant

2228 words - 9 pages

John Stuart Mill vs. Immanuel Kant
The aim of this paper is to clearly depict how John Stuart Mill’s belief to do good for all is more appropriate for our society than Immanuel Kant’s principle that it is better to do what's morally just. I will explain why Mill’s theory served as a better guide to moral behavior and differentiate between the rights and responsibilities of human beings to themselves and society.
Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill are philosophers who addressed the issues of morality in terms of how moral customs are formed. Immanuel Kant presented one perspective in The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals that is founded on his belief that the worth of man is inherent ...view middle of the document...

His input to the theory consists of his recognition of differences of quality and intensity among pleasures. Mill disagreed that "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied," meaning, human dissatisfaction is superior to animal satisfaction, or more clearer stated as "better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied". This means the fool would simply be of a different view because he did not know both sides of the question. This statement means that Mill has rejected the identification of the concept "happiness" and replaced it with "pleasure and the absence of pain" and rejected the concept "unhappiness" and replaced it with "pain and the absence of pleasure." Even though his point was based on the maximization of happiness, he showed the differences between pleasures that are higher and lower in quality.
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 views are formed around the idea of attaining happiness and Mill maintains hedonism; happiness or pleasure is the only inherent good for people. Mill believes hedonists should uphold that pleasures involving mature intellectual, creative and emotional capabilities are basically better. In Mill’s utilitarian theory, he states that there are qualitative pleasures as well as quantitative. Hedonism demonstrates that intellectual pleasures are superior pleasures because they are in better quality than those of purely extrinsic value. Kant sees this difference and explains that a numerical value can’t be placed on something that has essential value.
Kant’s theory on morality is in terms of his ethics of pure duty. Kant differentiates two kinds of law shaped by reason. Kant believes that standard agents are moral agents, that every moral agent has the same capability as any other and thus must be given thought and respect. Therefore, moral agents cannot be used to reach an end but are ends by themselves. Given an end we wish to reach, reason offers a theoretical imperative, or rule of action for reaching that end. Deriving a means to achieve some desired end is the most common use of reason.
However, Kant shows that the acceptable formation of the moral law cannot be merely hypothetical because our actions cannot be moral on the ground of some conditional purpose or goal. Morality requires an unrestricted statement of one's duty and reason...

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