Utilitarianism and kants moral essay

On the other hand Utilitarianism is based on consequence as someone should act to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people. There are two classical types of utilitarianism, which are act and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is right only if the result of good is just as much or more than any other available substitute.

Utilitarianism and kants moral essay

Classical Utilitarianism and Kantian Deontology Utilitarian According to act-utilitarianism that action is right which, in relation to all other alternative actions, will result in maximising the probable happiness or well-being of humanity as a whole, or more accurately, of all sentient beings 1 The theory defines morality in accordance with the happiness that occurs as a result of an action and not any perceived intrinsic moral worth of the action itself.

To determine which specific action is moral all one need do is determine that one action which would produce the greatest amount of happiness and the least possible amount of suffering. On its face, utilitarianism would therefore seem to echo an almost self-evident moral truth. A specific action does not have any intrinsic moral character independent of its results in a specific circumstance.

The results of an action alone are what assign it a moral value and those results are all one needing analysing to determine that value and ultimately, what Utilitarianism and kants moral essay of action one will choose to take. Gone is the notion of the absolute moral rule; the act-utilitarian need not consider what they perceive to be archaic, ill-supported, and abstract conceptions of moral worth.

For these reasons act-utilitarianism continues to have a highly attractive and tangibly concrete quality to it. It seems the most basic moral ideal that we should choose to promote happiness and prevent suffering.

Morality must dictate that actions resulting from moral duty ultimately promote the social welfare. Happiness would therefore appear to be the ultimate end of morality since the social welfare must include, and can perhaps be defined solely as happiness.

Utilitarianism seems a universally benevolent theory of morality where self-destructive and painful moral rules do not exist. Why after all, would society choose to promote moral doctrines which have no beneficial results save the fulfilment of what often appear to be moral abstracts grounded more in superstition than reason?

Contemporary utilitarians often consider anti-utilitarian moral theories to be non-benevolent due to their lack of consideration of happiness and the general welfare. Is happiness really the only thing that matters morally? Does happiness define what is moral? Act-utilitarianism states that in every circumstance, the moral thing to do is that action which will promote the most happiness.

But are there not actually cases where people can experience happiness as the result of immoral actions, and not merely one person or a small group of people but the majority?

Utilitarianism and kants moral essay

What if in the famous example, the sheriff of a small town decides to frame an innocent black man of raping a white woman in order to prevent race riots and hundreds of needless deaths? Act-Utilitarianism when placed under such scrutiny, often can give what society normally perceives of as the wrong answer, leading one to engage in immoral activities.

Act-utilitarianism in its single-minded pursuit of happiness, can often lead one to ignore basic human freedoms and fundamental moral concepts. Act-utilitarianism takes the position that the ends justify the means, that any action, regardless of its non-utilitarian interpretation, will be right as long as it promotes the general happiness more than any other action.

Utilitarianism and kants moral essay

If the end does not justify the means, what does? The answer is, obviously, nothing! This view though, is contradictory to all contemporary social perspectives on morality.

Is it not true that an action can find meaning in itself, that it has its own intrinsic moral worth which is independent of its expected consequences? Consider now, the consequences themselves — what justifies the ends themselves; our wish to seek those ends?

One can appeal to nothing but the ends themselves. An end justifies itself because it has its own independent moral worth.

Might it not be true then that a means may find meaning in itself apart from its ends; that actions can have their own intrinsic moral character? Though it would seem obvious that in what one might consider a perfect society, there would be a maximal amount of happiness and a minimal amount of pain, certainly one must concede that the mere presence of happiness and lack of pain are not the defining characteristics of a perfect society.

People can often be happy, either in ignorance or knowledge, as the result of immoral actions. One may without much effort, consider the existence of a society where nearly everyone is happy for all the wrong reasons: Often people can even be unhappy as the result of moral actions: The point is that happiness does not define morality.

What if the sheriff in the example was able to catch the real rapist? Does the execution of the rapist gain moral value because people are happy as a result of his execution? One must appeal to other concepts to determine the moral nature of the rape and execution.

Using the presence and level of happiness to define the moral value of actions often leads to ludicrous and anti-intuitive conclusions. Strengths of the Kantian perspective At least at first glance, both formulations of the Kantian perspective seem highly intuitive and appear to be in conformity with accepted moral views.

The first formulation, the Universal Law Formula, seems a rather simple and direct way of deciding whether or not an action may be morally permissible.

To decide whether or not an action may be moral all we need do is determine the maxim from which the action proceeds and then ask whether or not we could will that maxim to be a universal law; in other words, whether or not we could wish it to determine the actions of others.

If this could not be done without contradiction then the action is morally impermissible.Utilitarianism can allow slavery, whereas Kant’s moral theory cannot allow slavery. Kant’s moral theory uses the categorical imperative as its basis. The categorical imperative states “act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”.

Published: Mon, 5 Dec Ethics is the conscious reflection on our moral beliefs targeting to improve, extend or refine those beliefs in some way. Kantian moral and Utilitarianism theories attempt to respond to the ethical nature of human beings.

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The best academic repository of essays and research papers on the internet. Menu. Contemporary utilitarians often consider anti-utilitarian moral theories to be non-benevolent due to their lack of consideration of happiness and the general welfare.

Research Papers on Classical Utilitarianism and Kantian Deontology. Comparison: Letter. Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism Essay construction of many systems of morality such as John Stuart Mill’s theory of Utilitarianism.

In teleological approaches to morality, questions of right and wrong, or the notion what an individual ought to do, are determined by the consequences of a given action. Feb 06,  · Hence, utilitarianism bases its understanding of right action based on consequences. (Wolff) The three principal characteristics that constitute the basis of Bentham’s moral and political philosophy are the greatest happiness principle, universal egoism and the artificial identification of one’s interests against others.

Because utilitarianism only cares that the end result is an increase in happiness and does not consider the intentions behind an action, I believe that Kantian ethics is a better moral law to follow when compared to utilitarianism.

Kant vs. Utilitarianism | philosophyfactory