John Stuart Mill's Categorical Imperative

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The Categorical Imperative is the fundamental idea illustrated in the deontological moral philosophy of German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. Kant, often viewed as one of the most important figures in modern philosophy, attempted to discover how humans can be good and moral outside the traditional, religious framework. It was Kant’s desire to replace religious authority with the authority of reason and human intelligence. The idea for which he is most famous, the Categorical Imperative, is developed in his relatively brief text on moral philosophy, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. This idea solidifies the autonomy of the will as the foundation of morality. The Categorical Imperative is divided into several formulations which are all …show more content…
In short, the utilitarian theory argues that the moral action is the one that brings about the best state of affairs. The best state of affairs is the state of affairs that consists of the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Mill’s utilitarian theory is heavily influenced by Jeremy Bentham’s ideas on the same topic. However, Mill’s writings on utilitarianism attempt to understand what he calls “higher” pleasures and work to resolve complex problems that Bentham’s theory …show more content…
Utilitarianism is the most developed and most popular consequentialist theory. Mill’s Utilitarianism says that an action is right if it maximizes happiness and minimizes pain. What sets Mill’s Utilitarianism apart from the Utilitarian theories that preceded it is the idea that pleasures are not all of the same value. According to Mill, any human who has experienced both higher and lower pleasures would prefer the higher. This could be because an essential component of human happiness is dignity and higher pleasures further that sense of dignity. Mill’s Utilitarian theory takes the basic ideas of Bentham’s work and attempts to answer questions left by his predecessor to lead to a more complex form of

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