Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, And Kant's Deontological Ethics

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There are three substantial ethical theories in philosophy. Each attempting to prove the others wrong. These theories include: Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics, Mill’s Utilitarianism, and Kant’s Deontological Ethics. In their theories, each thought they had found the answer to finding the truth. Each theory has a hole in it that made others speculate it’s truth. I believe every theory brings an important piece to the puzzle. One theory alone cannot bring the truth. In this paper I will argue that one must take some truth from each theory in order to help find the ultimate truth.
Aristotle’s theory is based on virtues. He begins his argument by talking about the human good. To put it simply, he believed that one must have reasons to achieve a goal
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It states that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” Right away one can see that Mill has very different views than Aristotle. Mill believes that happiness is about pleasure while Aristotle believed it has about the ends that one makes in their lifetime. Mill also believed that morality is about promoting happiness for all while Aristotle is only concerned with the happiness of the beholder. An important piece for Mill’s argument is that of quantity versus quality. In class we discussed being a pig with all the pleasure in the world and being a human with not as much pleasure. The argument breaks down to the quantity of pleasures. As a pig you can have all the pleasures in the world and as a human you can still have pleasures but not nearly as extensive as the pig. Then the argument breaks down to quality. The quality of a pig 's life would be boring. A pig eat, sleeps, and maybe plays in its everyday life. For a human we can experience different activities in our everyday life. Mill sums up this argument by saying, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” While Mill has a sound argument, there are many objections to his beliefs. The first objection of this argument would be people doing without …show more content…
Kant rejects the idea of virtues because he believes they cannot bring goodness by themselves. He also believes that happiness as an ultimate end in Mill’s argument is a total waste because there would be no need for reason. He forms his own argument around the basis of morality. Kant believes that the purpose of reason is to produce a good will which is good in itself. He then goes on to describe deontology. Deontology is what is right based on one’s duty or obligation. He then goes on to detail what the basis for morality is not. I believe this is important because it is often seen that philosophers give their side and then do not tell you what it is not. Kant draws the conclusion that one should pick their ends and then chose their means, this is not the basis of morality. If one cannot choose their own end then they must rely on the categorical imperatives. Categorical imperatives have no specific goals and just what to do the right thing. In all, Kant believes that one should not pursue morality by looking first at particular examples and then deriving a theory

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