Philosophy Customer Inserts His/Her Name Customer Inserts Grade Course Customer Inserts 9th June, 2013 Mill, Kant and Aristotle advanced different theories on certain aspects of human life and their theories on several instances have differed…
John Stuart Mill came up with a theory that supports happiness as the only true virtue that should be cultivated by human beings. According to him, the act of making oneself happy is important in the process of taking certain decisions. Mill’s theory is referred to as utilitarianism and this differs from the categorical imperative and Nichomachean ethics theories advanced by Emmanuel Kant and Aristotle respectively. In the book “The Surrounded” we see different characters who undertake different actions based on their judgement. One instance is when we see the engagement of Dorothea to Casaubon after a long talk between Dorothea and Celia. Dorothea intended to get married to Casaubon so as to learn from the enlightened man and become his helper as he tried to achieve greatness. However, as witnessed in the book, their marriage was not successful since both of them failed to achieve their intentions out of this marriage (Rashdall 169). Based on the theory of virtue according to Mill, the ultimate actions of a person are to achieve happiness or eliminate pain. This theory is referred to as utilitarianism and its aim is to promote hedonism and thus the actions and intentions of the actor or agent do not matter so long as happiness is achieved. Dorothea’s intentions of marrying Casaubon were to gain enlightenment, remedy her ignorance and acquire knowledge. She knew that once she would be enlightened and assist Casaubon in achieving the greatest path she would be happy and content with her actions. However, all her intentions and actions did not lead her to happiness. As a result, we can conclude that in the process of coming to the decision to marry Casaubon, Dorothea did not consider her happiness. As a result, her actions were not in tune with the theory of utilitarianism and thus we can conclude that her actions do not conform to the theory of utilitarianism. Moreover, when we examine the actions of Casaubon in relation to his marriage to Dorothea, he thought that by marrying the beautiful Dorothea he had found a good helper who would assist in his works. As a result, the actions of Casaubon were to secure someone who would help him in undertaking small tasks as a secretary of sorts (Wolff 144). At the same time, while Dorothea was subservient to her husband’s demands she made sure her husband’s educational and personal needs were being taken care of. However, since both of them had different intentions they could not achieve their goals as they were on the path of happiness. Both the intentions of Dorothea and Casaubon failed to meet the theory of utilitarianism as advocated by Mill. Since both of their actions had the consequences of happiness they did not consider happiness as the end result of their marriage. According to Mill, the actions of a person should be measured based on the consequence of his/her actions. This is in contrast to Emmanuel Kant’s categorical imperative theory which looks into the consequences of one’s actions. According to Kant, actions have consequences and therefore the actions of Dorothea and Casaubon must have some consequences. Kant’s categorical imperative theory calls for duty of will whereby the person undertaking certain actions should have the right to doing a sensible action since it favours his/her interests while looking out for the interest of others. Therefore, the actions of a person have to reflect the will of that person and thus it would be virtuous and beneficial to all parties. In relation to Dorothea and ...
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