Utilitarianism vs Kantianism

Topics: Utilitarianism, Ethics, Morality Pages: 3 (1089 words) Published: February 19, 2013
The two sources of moral guidance are the rivaling theories of Kantianism and Utilitarianism, both normative moral theories, meaning they deal with how we know what is right or wrong. Kantianism is a deontological theory developed by Immanuel Kant. This means that the theory holds the importance of duty and motives of an act in higher prestige than the consequences of said act. Kant argued, what came with is religiosity, that we, humans are rational, moral beings. This meant that we understand intrinsically what our moral duty is; this means that our motives that we act on will be based on what we feel it is our duty to do and then equally important goodwill. Goodwill is what, Kant believed to be good without question, for example murder and lying. This is where Kant introduces the idea of maxims. Maxims are rules that are formulated as rules to follow as moral law similar to a divine commandment e.g. do not murder, do not lie. Kant claimed that in order for a maxim to be used as a moral law it must pass the test that is Categorical Imperative (CI). The CI consists of 3 formulations, the Universal Law, this is the test of the logical possibility of universalizability – “Act only on that maxim which you can at the same time will should become a universal law” which claims that if a maxim is universalizable then if every person were to follow the same maxim then the world would be a more moral place. Secondly was the End in itself which claimed that it is fine to use people to achieve goals as long as that is not all you use them for and lastly the Kingdom of Ends which was Kant’s logical combination of the two. Kant held two things on equal as Universalizable maxims and these were to never lie and to never murder, so in this case then Kant would agree on never murdering because he would argue that murdering is not part of a moral duty or a goodwill motive. Kant’s theory sounds all well and good but it lacks massive ecological validity because it is not applicable...
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