mill vs kant

Topics: Ethics, Utilitarianism, Morality Pages: 3 (947 words) Published: December 13, 2013

The writings of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant present very different ideas concerning the Ethical Problem. Mill’s ideas are referred to as Utilitarianism. In this system of thought, the basic belief is that happiness is the greatest goal and actions should be judged by their ability to provide the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Kant, the Deontologist, believed that it is not the result of the action that is important, but the action itself. He advocated a moral rule based on reason. The basic ideas found in these philosophers’ writings lead me to see Mill’s argument as the more plausible solution to the ethical problem. He believed that morality is associated with happiness and his idea that greater happiness for the greatest number of people should be the ultimate goal appears to be a worthy ambition. This would contribute to social order and supports our accepted ideas that actions such as murder are wrong. There are two definitions included in his writing which explained his ideas more clearly to me. The first was “The Greatest Happiness Principle, which was defined as actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” ( ) Happiness is defined as “ pleasure and the absence of pain”( )Based on my own experience it is plausible to believe most of us are seeking pleasure and attempting to avoid pain; if these attempts are designed to provide the most happiness to the most people, it would appear we are attempting to be moral. This also seems to be common sense, pleasure is good and pain is bad; regardless of other beliefs most people do accept this. The effects on a society, where people are attempting to provide the most pleasure for the most people, cannot be overlooked. This type of society would be more fair and peaceful since everyone must consider the needs of others equal to their own. This idea that morality of an action is based on the...
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