Midterm Essay Number One
Friday October 19th 2012
Immanuel Kant’s deontological moral theory provides a strong base for making correct decisions and is a better ethics system than Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that is attributed to philosophers John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism is a theory holding that the proper course of action is one which maximizes happiness for the majority. It is considered a ‘consequentialist’ philosophical view because it holds the belief that outcomes can be predicted based on the course of actions. Utilitarianism is another way of stating ‘the end justifying the means.’ Deontologists argue that the means of ones’ actions should be ethical regardless of the outcome contrasting to utilitarianism where the outcomes must benefit the majority. Deontology demands that ethical norms be used with the belief that there are transcendent ethical norms and truths that are universally applicable for all. Deontology reinforces that actions can be immoral regardless of their outcome because the actions made can be wrong in themselves. Through this Kant uses ‘a categorical imperative’ meaning one must act morally at all times. Kant believes that all people base their moral conclusions on their rational thought. Thus, deontology is another way of stating ‘the means justifying the end.’ Suppose an evil villain holds you and four others hostage and instructs you to kill one of the four hostages and if you chose not to do this, the villain will kill every one. You have no doubts about the reality of the villains’ treats therefore you fully believe that he will do what he says he will. This leaves you with two options. The first option is to kill one of the four and save the lives of the other three as well as yourself. From a utilitarian perspective one would come to the conclusion that they must kill the one person because...