Comparing Theories Of J. S. Mill And Immanuel Kant

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J.S Mill and Immanuel Kant both had their own very convincing theories regarding how to determine if an action/choice is morally permissible or not. Mill’s Principle of Utility focuses on the quality and quantity of happiness produced to determine the morality, while Kant’s Categorical Imperative concentrates more on our intentions. According to Mill’s Principle, Pat should not tell Chris that she cheated, because it would create more pain than pleasure. The pain that Chris would feel after finding out he was cheated on and the pain Pat would feel after being broken up with outweighs the happiness/pleasures of them both, so according to Mill, telling Chris would not be a morally permissible action. According to Kant’s Categorical Imperative, …show more content…
This theory is based on the consideration of intentions, and that we can rationally test our intentions to determine whether they are morally permissible or not. Kant also analyzes an action based on the conditions for the possibility of good will, dutiful will, and right intentions. We ask ourselves the transcendental question; What are the conditions for the possibility of Good Will/Dutiful Will/Right Intentions? In order for an action to be Good Will, it doesn’t mean that you simply ‘meant well’ by what you did. It means that you had the right intention when deciding to do this action. An intention is your motive, the actions you will take, your goal, or your plan that moves you to act. It expresses your reason for an action. To have the right intention, your reason for an action does not depend on what the outcome will be. This means that you chose to do this action not because it would result/contribute to a higher goal, you chose to do it simply for the means of itself, that the action alone is universally good. A good will is not contingent, not based on consequences, and is not because of a sentiment or feeling. It means that overall, the way they make choices and exercise their freedom is overall simply good. In this situation, if Pat decides to tell Chris the truth, I think it would be a good will, because she is not making the decision based on the consequences or his or her feelings, she’s …show more content…
After you have created your maxim, you then attempt to apply it universally. In this scenario, the maxim would be to lie to your significant other about cheating in order to keep your relationship. Applying it as a universal law would mean that every single person that cheated would not tell their significant other if they felt it might end their relationship. This maxim cannot be applied universally because it produces a contradiction. Kant believes that every person has rights and their own autonomy, so lying to them is treating them as a mere thing. There is no valid reason to lie about this action other than the fact Pat most likely regrets it, and fears losing Chris. Therefore, this maxim cannot be applied as a universal law, because it is rationally incoherent to make a maxim a law that is based off of self-interest. Since it cannot be applied universally, and telling Chris the truth would have greater moral worth, it is concluded that according to Kant’s Categorical Imperative Pat should tell Chris that she cheated out of respect and to follow her duty to him as his significant

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