A Simplified Account Of Kantian Ethics Analysis

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In “A Simplified Account of Kantian Ethics”, author Onora O’Neill makes the claim that Kantianism and Utilitarianism have 2 distinct views on human life and the way it’s value should guide an individual’s morals. She firstly focuses on explaining the Utilitarian perspective on individual purpose and life value, rather dramatically calling it a task “not for the faint-hearted” (O’Neill, 4). Fundamentally, utilitarianism upholds a standard of maximizing utility, meaning that no one individual’s happiness is to be ranked above the greater good in importance. She describes Utilitarianism as “dauntingly long, indeed interminable,” (O’Neill, 4) which I personally think is true of any moral theory, Kantianism included, but more so for Utilitarianism because of its requirement of self-sacrifice. Kantianism, on the other hand, is similar in the sense that it also (seemingly) places no human life above another in worth or importance. In fact, this is where it derives the ‘mere means’ component of the theory: all beings capable of rationality are valued based on that quality, and considering that things of higher value typically aren’t traded for things of lesser value, no being with that quality ought to be treated as though they are with lesser or without value. Because of this lack of preference to an individual, I find that …show more content…
As a reader, I would make an assumption that would blur this ‘clear’ distinction between the value of life in Kantianism and Utilitarianism: Should we pursue greater happiness with Utilitarianism because we are aware of other’s capabilities to be happy in the same way we are capable, just the same way that we value rational beings for possessing the same qualities of reflection and planning as us? The only difference is that Utilitarianism requires that we promote lives with as much quality as

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