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How Should I Judge the Goodness of My Actions - Essay Example

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Mills contends that individuals who have experienced the two pleasures have a higher preference to how they exist, using higher faculties. He implies that people with more awareness to the world need more for them to be happy. Those who are knowledgeable, while subject to ignorance in enjoying base pleasures, maintain withstanding lower grades of pleasure. Finally, as people, we act in specific ways in order to meet out desires and the decisions made are governed, somewhat, by sanctions. Two types of sanctions exist, i.e. internal and external. External sanctions are outside of the person and are inclusive of such means as the influence from other people; for example, the approval, and disapproval of other people to our actions (Kahn, 2010). It can also be from ideas like the fear of God and punishment from God for acting contrary to his word. Internal sanctions, on the other hand, are equivalent to one’s conscience. These are the inner thoughts resonating in one’s mind with regards to actions or ideas. Internal sanctions have a greater influence since the mind has a consistent presence in one’s lifetime. ...
Those who help others in order to be happy do so out of an effort to get personal benefits and not for duty alone. Therefore, firstly, motivation for this type of good will needs to be duty bound and not for the manner in which it makes one feel when showing generosity. Duty’s second characteristic contends that true duty must not be performed with calculated effect (Munzel, 2012). This means that if an individual decides to donate boreholes to a community in Africa he would not desire to get a tax deduction for it. Duty also requires one to act out of respect for morality, where humanity should behave according to duty and its properties, rather than for the self-serving outcome or motivation. Action, therefore, is only taken to be good if its reasoning does not contradict itself and makes sense. Kant is emphatic of this when he discusses lying, questioning whether he would be contented if his lying maxim were a universal law to him and to others (Munzel, 2012). On examining the idea, universal application of lying, would fail with all people practicing and expecting lies. Therefore, reasons governing actions can also be referred to as imperatives. He separates exteriorly motivated duties and pure duty by referring to them as hypothetical and categorical imperatives respectively. Categorical imperatives are concerned with the principle an action follows, unlike hypothetical imperatives. The debate between the two is whether an individual’s sense of duty is compromised by consequential appeal, i.e. where murdering an individual is to the benefit of other many people, is the killing justified? Kant would hold that killing is not permissible in any situation even where the person is a dictator who oppresses and kill ...Show more


How Should I Judge the Goodness of My Actions? Name: Institution: HOW SHOULD I JUDGE THE GOODNESS OF MY ACTIONS? Mill’s utilitarian principle is also referred to as the principle of greatest happiness. It focuses on holistic improvement of happiness. By attempting to maintain happiness, the utilitarian theory, also explores morality and maintains that actions are right or wrong in proportion as they promote happiness or the reverse of happiness respectively (Kahn, 2010)…
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