Critical Reflection of Bentham and Mill’s Utilitarianism in Contrast to Kant’s Idea of Duty.

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Critical reflection of Bentham and Mill’s utilitarianism in contrast to Kant’s idea of duty.

First of all, there are three different types of happiness or pleasure, namely; hedonism which focuses on for the sake of pleasure, Epicureanism which was brought forward by Epicurus who stated that happiness is freedom from bodily pain and mental distress and lastly, utilitarianism which was originated from Bentham and later was explained further by Mill which will be explained further in this essay. Moreover, Kant’s idea of duty will be compared with that of Bentham and Mill’s idea of utilitarianism.

There are distinct differences amongst the three philosophers; Bentham, Mill and Kant in their different approaches to ethics especially in regards to the idea of duty and happiness. The definition of utilitarianism according to Mill (1861) utility or the “greatest happiness principle” is the actions that are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness . Happiness in this case means intended pleasure and the absence of pain whilst unhappiness refers to pain and the privation of pleasure. Moreover, according to him, the only desirable things as ends are pleasure and freedom.

In contrast to this, Kant’s (1840) idea of duty is that moral is the act of goodwill which is done without having any motives or without fulfilling any desires. In other words, the moral thing to do is to do the action solely for the sake of duty. Thus, in doing so, this will lead to happiness. Moreover, Kant emphasized on reasons as he believed that rationality is universal . However, modern philosophers have refuted that rationality is local and not universal due to the fact that rationality is subjective to different individual’s perception which had been shaped by society. In addition, Mill criticised Kant and his deontologists followers that they failed to specify which principles should take priority when rights and...
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