Compare And Contrast Mill And Kant's Theories Of Morality

Improved Essays
Morality as used in the context is defined as the principles revolving around the differentiation between wrong and right behavior of the human. As the last thinker of the enlightenment, Kant was a philosopher that believed that reason was the only thing that morality can come from. In contrast Mill was a philosopher who believed that morality is utility, meaning that something is moral only if it brings happiness or pleasure. In looking at both Kant’s text Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals and Mill’s Utilitarianism we see both differences and similarities in Mill’s enlarged sense of justice and Kant’s kingdom of ends. To begin with, Kant’s approach to determining what is moral and what is not and some background on his philosophy is …show more content…
Proven above, we know this is very different than Kant. It is evident that Kant’s ideas solely focused on the intention, but opposite, Mill is more concerned about the outcome. Mill emphasizes the consequences of an action and how the consequence of an action is the justification of morality. If an outcome brings you happiness or the least amount of pain then we are achieving the goal of morality, for Mill. Although many argue that utility does not take play in justice, Mill disagrees. “To recapitulate: the idea of justice supposes two things; a rule of conduct, and a sentiment which sanctions the rule”(Mill, 45). In regards to justice there are two main factors for Mill. The first being equality and the second being punishment. The goal of punishment is to establish order and reorder of social order, and vengeance is an animalistic desire that is natural. Without equality we wouldn’t be able to regard other peoples happiness and therefore justice becomes a concept that is derived from higher-level thinking and vengeance is a mixture of animalistic thinking and abstract thinking. “The sentiment of justice, in that one of its elements which consists of desire to punish is thus, I conceive, the natural feeling of retaliation or vengeance, rendered by intellect and sympathy applicable to those injuries, that is, to those hurts, …show more content…
Both philosophers used a first principle to govern their ideas and both philosophers were interested in universality. Kant using his categorical imperative to universalize all to be ends within themselves, and Mill in considering consequences for all sentient creatures as well as the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people. Also, they both took into account duties to others: the rules to not lie, and not deprive others. All in all both Mill and Kant were philosophers that both shared similarities and differences in their ideas of a kingdom of ends, for Kant, and an enlarged sense of Justice, for Mill, and with the above text this is

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    It involves assessing what the people perceive to be moral and taking actions which will produce insignificant consequences on the people other than the individual performing the act. REGARDING EITHER THEORIST 6. As provided by Kant on his ethical theory, the standard of living an ethical life entails carrying out the logical reasoning behind the actions which are perceived to be moral. Kant argued that it is not a matter of following what the norm have stated to be moral but rather questioning the reason behind taking certain actions (Ross 37). Mill on the other hand in his utilitarian ethical theory based standards of living an ethical life on the ability of one to achieve maximum happiness from the…

    • 1177 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This being said, I feel as though the outcome of an action does affect its ‘goodness’ even if unknown- consequences shouldn’t be overlooked, therefore I disagree with Kant. Kant (1724-1804) believed that the instructions/moral code we live by should be categorical imperatives not hypothetical…

    • 1607 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He agreed with Hobbes that humans are innately selfish and Rousseau that corruption was tempting, but rather than control these tendencies by way of religion, as was the norm of the time, Kant proposed a morality rooted in human intelligence and reason. This led to the development of his infamous concept of a categorical imperative where he held that people should “act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant, 2012). Contrary to hypothetical imperatives, which are derived from human desires, categorical imperatives are moral obligations derived from reason. This imperative relies on two principles: (1) Universality – the act shall apply to everyone equally in similar situations; and (2) Humanity – actions should treat others as ends in themselves, rather than pure means. For Kant, good actions are only those which are done out of good will, or in respect of a moral code, which Kant believed is formed through interactions of rational beings who understand that being good is ultimately good for…

    • 1154 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The philosophies of Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill are essentially polar opposites of one another, but in the most basic form they have similarities. Mill’s main belief was in utilitarianism, ascertaining that individuals should act in such a way as to maximize overall utility, and the preponderance of pleasure over pain. Kant classified as a transcendental idealist, holding that experiences are governed by necessary causal laws, which almost posits itself into a subsection of rationalism, as causal laws are often with reason. The philosophies of the modern philosophers Kant and Mill have disparities in a wide variety of areas, such as ethics, and have minimal similarities. In terms of a general philosophy, Kant’s Copernican Revolution…

    • 990 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Kant And Moral Nihilism

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages

    But that is not all of the similarities and differences that these two philosophers had. Some more similarities include the belief that morality is achieved by actions which seek the highest good, they both believe that reason should be employed in determining actions, they both believe that some actions are intrinsically evil. Another difference between the two philosophers is the consequence of an action. According to Kant, consequences of an action are irrelevant in determining whether an action is moral or not where as Aristotle asserts that we can face consequences of voluntary actions. The next difference is the highest good and how it is achieved.…

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Although Kant and Aristotle have some contrasting views, there are some similarities. Both agree the morality is not based off the result of an action, but rather the individual 's judgment about that action. To understand the moral world both Kant and Aristotle believed that logic was the only way-- they argued that emotions alone were too risky and personal to be helpful in making moral claims. Also, both men agree that some actions are just evil and should never be taken. There are natural and moral evils-- hurricanes and toothaches are examples of natural evils, murder and lying are examples of moral…

    • 1199 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Kantian ethics, the moral philosophy established by Immanual Kant in his work Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, is centered around the idea of the “categorical imperative”, the principle that certain actions are strictly prohibited, despite the potential for the prohibited action to bring about more good than the alternative. Kant believed that since humans have the ability to reason, they must use their rationale to determine what these unwavering truths, or moral duties, are. For Kant, if humans act in accordance with these moral duties, and not out of preference, instinct or desire, they are in turn acting with moral worth. This ethical outline can be applied to the case of Ben and Tyler, two buddies whose friendship is…

    • 905 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Rationality meaning one 's judge of values and one 's guide to action.“Settle, for sure and universally, what conduct will promote the happiness of a rational being.”( Kant) Kant first starts by arguing that we are indeed responsible for what we do. The actions that we take are not just a set of events that we have no control over. Other philosophers believe that they are just another set of events that are determined by the things we cannot control. He also bases morality as a matter of duty that is common sense. Whether we feel against or not we know the morally right thing and it’s our duty to care out our action.…

    • 881 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In this paper, I will discuss Kant’s moral reasoning, both broadly and in terms of a case study, and elaborate on some issues with Kantian ethics. The core of Kant’s ideas on morality is his statement that "nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good without qualification, except a good will". He defines this good will as “the will which acts from freedom and respect for the moral law”, meaning that one must choose by their own volition to pursue morality. Kant believes the only purely good thing is this idea of good will. In saying this, Kant draws a line between good will and traits like happiness, wealth, and even health that are usually thought to be good.…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, why is happiness held as the means by which one justifies consequences or maximized good, rather than suffering? Utilitarianism does not pretend to give a purely formal answer. Likewise, Kant must assign some moral content to subjunctive consequences. While much detail may exist in these consequences through the typic (the nature of law) and while all possibilities of the kingdom of ends might be specified and imagined, the permissibility of maxims is still…

    • 1235 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays