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Kant’s Moral Theory Vs. Utilitarianism

Essay by   •  June 5, 2016  •  Essay  •  729 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,442 Views

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Kant’s Moral Theory vs. Utilitarianism

Mill and Kant had very different views on how to determine what is right and wrong. For me, if I had to choose one of them to live my everyday life, I would go with utilitarianism. Mill believes that the quality of happiness should be increased for everyone around the world and that that will solve many of the world’s major issues. Whereas Kant believes that everyone has a duty and that those duties and actions should be universal. So, if you wouldn’t be okay with everyone in the world making the same decision as you, then your decision is immoral.

Kant’s theory sounded good to me at first when looking at the two cashiers. One cashier gave the customer the correct change because he was afraid he was going to get caught if he cheated him, the other cashier gave the correct change because it was his duty to be honest. When I saw that part it made a lot of sense to me because I do believe that you shouldn’t do things just because you are afraid of bad consequences, but because you really believe that that is what you should do. This made me think that this theory would be most applicable in my day-to-day life.

Then I heard the story about the woman at the door being chased by a crazy man trying to kill her. This is where my perspective on Kant’s theory changed. According to him, if she knocked on the door it would be your duty to help her, but then if the killer came knocking on the door looking for her then it would be your duty to not lie to him and tell him that she is in your house. If you did this, you would have to tell the killer that the woman was hiding in your house and where she was hiding. This would be an endless cycle because you would be selling her out, which would not be helping her like your duty was in the first place. So, because you sold her out, the killer would find her, and it would be your duty to help her again. It would go on and on and you would never really be able to truly help her.

Because of all of this, I realized that Mills’ theory was much more realistic and made a lot more sense. He believed that everyone should focus on having the greatest happiness, not the greatest amount, but the highest quality of mental happiness. Although it does not focus on doing the right thing for everyone, which means that in the case of the cashier and the woman being chased by the killer, you might not choose to do the “right” thing. According to Mill, if the cashier was truly happy with the decision to give the correct change just because they thought they were going to get caught, then that would be the right decision. If the woman were to knock on the door asking for help, it would most likely make a person happy to help her. However, when the killer knocked on the door asking for the woman, it would most likely not make the person happy to tell the man where she is. So, this would be the most realistic way

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