Good and Evil

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 3 (1171 words) Published: October 27, 2013

Good and Evil-Casablanca
Kimberly Gromack
U03a1-Unit 3 Assignment
Capella University
October, 2013

There are many different viewpoints on what is right and wrong and ethically and morally correct. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and Jon Stuart Mill (1806-1873), both considered to be two of the best philosophers of all time, had different views on how one should live the Good Life. John Stuart Mill’s theory was called Utilitarianism and Kant’s theory, the Categorical Imperative.

Immanuel Kant believed that it was more important for a person to have moral values than to be intelligent, funny, or to have any other talents or traits of the human mind or body. He believed of course that it was good to have these talents but that “moral worth” was invaluable. Kant expressed, “to act morally is to act from no other motive than the motive of doing what is right” (Sommers & Sommers, 2010, p. 230). Kant believed that morality was not just about the results or effect of an action but the will behind the action. He believed that our actions must come from a sense of Duty, not because we care for or love one another but because it is our Duty to “respect the Moral Law” (p. 246). Judging the importance of a decision based on whether or not it was following a rule or set of rules is called deontological ethics. He believed that it was not the consequences of the action which were important but the person’s motive carrying out the said action. Many disagree with Kant saying that we must have a foundation to start from, a reason such as love or concern to do what is morally correct.

John Stuart Mill believed that our actions must promote happiness to all involved, not just the person doing the action for it to be morally correct. Mill endorsed the “principle of utility” thus that actions are correct if they produce happiness and wrong if resulting in the opposite of happiness. Mill’s version of the Golden Rule...

References: Betzler, M. (2008). Kant’s ethics of virtue. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN: 9783110177282
Rachels, J. & Rachels, S. (2012). The elements of moral philosophy (7th ed.). New York, New York: McGraw Hill
Sommers, C. H. & Sommers, F. (2010). Vice and virtue in everyday life: Introductory reading in ethics (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
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