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Kant's Philosophy - Article Example

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Kant's Philosophy

According to Kant there is a priori, an already existing feeling in each human, which guide his actions. It is not the senses or material or experience which gives the conception of right or wrong, instead, right and wrong is already there in every human being. It is up to the individual to opt to go by that “right feeling” or against it. This inner scale of gauging right or wrong is the one which gives us the sense of duty. Therefore, our actions should be driven through this sense of duty. This implies, that an action is good or bad not because of its end result but because it was done according to the “inner embedded moral value”. In short, the actions whether the are morally right or wrong have no effect on the consequences This approach would elevate the morality over self interests i.e. “Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness”. (Practical Reason : p139)..Having agreed on the existence of “inner feeling” to guide our action Kant proposed that it is our free will which enable us to decide which action to adopt.
Utilitarianism is another philosophical thought about morality. It emphasize that the ends must be judged to initiate actions. If a lot of good is coming from an action it is perceived to be justified. In case more of harm is done by some action it should not be carried out. That is, morality is directly proportional to the utility of the action. After the conception of this theory lot has been added to provide it stability in the realistic world. This led to the eruption of many branches of Utilitarianism like Act vs. rule Utilitarianism, Motive Utilitarianism, Two-level Utilitarianism and Negative Utilitarianism.
In essence, Utilitarianism is exactly opposite of Kant's moral ethical theory. According to Kant the consequences are of no value and the actions are to be taken by pitching them to "ever existing criteria of morality" which is residing deep within any human being. On the other hand Utilitarianism proponents are of the opinion that consequences are to be assessed before the decision is taken about the correctness or incorrectness of an action. This implies that in Utilitarianism there is no set piece of morality as in the case of Kant's theory.
However, despite the above major difference in both the theories there are also two similar grounds. One is that in Kant's moral ethical theory there might be occasions in which ones own interest might be of lesser value in a quest of making ourselves "worthy of happiness". Similarly in Utilitarianism if our good have a consequence of bad for many than we have to forego our good in the interest of better consequences i.e. avoiding bad of many. Conversely if our bad lead to a consequence of good for many than the action to be taken should be the one which is bad for us. Therefore selflessness is what comes out in case of both theories.
Another common ground is of free will. In Kant's theory it is your free will to adopt the approach which is in line with the inbuilt morality or go other wise. Similarly in Utilitarianism also after considering the consequences it will be the free will to choose the option of an action which has more good or more bad. In both the theories the actions are not dictated as a predetermined course and totally oppose the fatalistic approach to life.
It is always difficult to really give a final verdict about the veracity of such ideas. The moral ethical theories of Kant and Utilitarianism have converging and diverging views at different levels. However, Utilitarianism did try to accommodate a shade of ...Show more

Summary

In eighteenth century philosophical thought was swaying between the conception of giving dominance to mind or material. Reason was pitched against religion and religion was becoming the casualty…
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