Essay on Utilitarianism Vs. Kant 's Ethics

825 Words Dec 4th, 2015 4 Pages
Utilitarianism Vs. Kant’s Ethics
Ethics can be defined as “the conscious reflection on our moral beliefs with the aim of improving, extending, or refining those beliefs in some way”. Kantian moral theory and utilitarianism are two theories that attempt to answer the ethical nature of human beings.(3) This paper will attempt to define both utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theory. This paper will also show a criticism a Kantian has against utilitarianism, as well as how utilitarianism would respond to that criticism and if it is a successful or unsuccessful criticism.
First let us get an understanding of what both utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theory is. Utilitarianism is an effort to provide an answer to the question “What ought a man to do”. Its answer is that he ought to act so as to produce the best consequecnes possible.(4) The moral theory of utilitarianism states that an act is permissible, insofar, that it promotes and maximizes happiness and social well-being, which also means that the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons should be the guiding principle of conduct.(1) Now Kant’s Ethics states that an act is permissible, if and only if, it treats no one as a mere means. Kant’s ethics states that human beings must follow a categorical imperative, which is an absolute moral standard that does not vary on individual circumstances. Kant stated that a behavior is only ethical when it would remain beneficial if performed universally by…

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