Utilitarian vs. Kantian

Topics: Ethics, Immanuel Kant, Utilitarianism Pages: 3 (1188 words) Published: April 1, 2008
This paper was written during the final exam for an ethics class, from memory. As such, there are no referances, but it still makes for a pretty good outline for a paper on utilitarian and Kantian ethical theories.

With so many varying views on morals and ethics, trying to use reason in ethics without resorting to emotional judgments is difficult. The first stop to overcoming this obstacle is to begin by studying ethical theories. Once a good grasp of the theories has been established, the next task is to create an extreme hypothetical situation and apply the theories to it. Once this can be achieved correctly, it will become easier to make ethical decisions in day-to-day life. Following this process the situation is thus: ten people are in a coastal cave with one exit. The first person trying to exit gets stuck in the entrance trapping the other nine within the cave. The only way to extract the one is to use explosives, killing the one. If the one is not freed, he/she would survive, but the nine would be drowned by the rising tide. Examining this scenario and applying Kantian Ethical Theory (Kantian) and Utilitarian Theory it becomes evident that the right thing to do is to blast that mother lover out of the way whether one takes it from the perspective of the one or the nine.

The first exploration will be taken from the viewpoint of the one using Kantian Ethical Theory. At first glance, Kantian seems to suggest that this person could not kill him/herself because in Kant's writings he states that suicide is wrong. The reason for this is because of the maxim given in the act (A), circumstances (C), end (E) format of "(A) I will kill myself, (C) when I am in pain, (E) out of self love." According to Kant the purpose of self love prevents one from killing oneself, and this paradox cause this maxim to fall within what he calls "narrow duties." However, in this scenario, the circumstances and the purpose of the action are different. So...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Kantian and Utilitarian Case Study Essay
  • Kantian and Utilitarian Theories Essay
  • Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism Essay
  • Kantian Ethics Essay
  • Essay on The Utilitarian
  • Afirmative action in workplace: discussing with Kantian and Utilitarian theories Essay
  • Kantian theory Essay
  • Kantian Ethics Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free