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Kant's and Mill's Philosophical Theories on Morality - Essay Example

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Then, I will elucidate Mill’s response to Kantian theory, and the grounds of his philosophy. Finally, I will argue through example that we ought to favor Mill’s philosophy as it will maximize the benefit to society. Kant’s Theory on Morality In his moral philosophy, Kant argues that for law to have any moral force, it must contain absolute necessity. He opines that morality cannot exist without metaphysics also known as a set of necessary truths. When one fulfils one’s obligation to these necessary truths, the act performed will have morally right regardless of the repercussions it will have. The will to fulfill this obligation forms the basis of our decisions to engage or not to engage in certain acts and it can only become moral if one’s actions are because of rather than merely in accordance with the duty. This will determines what is good or bad because when the will is bad all the other aspects of an individual can be used to further immoral purposes. Kant’s argument is that moral requirements are founded on a certain standard of rationality which he named, Categorical Imperative. Immorality is therefore the violation of the Categorical Imperative and which is therefore irrational. These standards of rationality upon which moral requirements are based are either desire-based instrumental rationality principles or based on natural rational intuitions. But he also argued that conformity to this Categorical Imperative, a non-instrumental principle, hence conformity to moral requirements themselves is capable of being shown to be integral to rational agency. He based this argument on his remarkable doctrine that generally a rational will should be seen to be autonomous, or free such that it is the author of the law which seeks to bind it, (Kant, 1999). The basic principle of morality, the Categorical Imperative, is the law of a free or autonomous will. Kant’s moral philosophy is centered on a principle of reason, that an individual’s moral behavior is more than just being a slave to his passions. The presence of this natural and self-governing reason in everyone means that each individual is capable of making the right moral choices and becoming a respectable member of the society. Mills Moral Theory Mills philosophy of the greatest happiness principle tends to divert from Kant’s philosophy. According to Mill, the correctness of person’s actions is measured by its effect on other people. The ultimate end of a person’s actions should be aimed at bringing about the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. This standard of the greatest happiness has been desired because it is assumed that most people desires for their own happiness for as long as they believe they can achieve that. Therefore, the greatest happiness is a sum of the greatest happiness of every individual. For Mill, happiness is achieved when there is no pain and there is pleasure both in quality and quantity. Since this pleasure is everyone’s goal, then it forms the basis of our morality. Mill explains how one is to distinguish what will result into more or less happiness by saying that if a person has experienced two pleasures, he will choose the one with a higher value. Higher pleasures are mostly related to intellect while lower pleasures are mostly physical. He also explained why some people will choose a lower pleasure over a higher one even when they have had experience with both. He said that even though this ...Show more


Kant’s and Mill’s Philosophical Theories on Morality Name of student Course and code Course Instructor Name of Institute Kant’s and Mill’s Philosophical Theories on Morality Introduction Kant and Mill represent a battle on the origin of morality…
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Kants and Mills Philosophical Theories on Morality essay example
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