Kant And Utilitarianism

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John Mehlhaff Phil 1720-01 Writing assignment #1 9/9/11 Utilitarianism and Kant While analyzing the books definition of utilitarianism and Kant’s duty ethics it became clear that there are similarities and differences between the two views. According to the book utilitarianism maintains that everyone should perform the act or follow the moral that which will bring about the greatest good (or happiness) for each person involved. The book states that Kant believed that it is possible by reasoning alone to set up valid absolute moral rules that have the same force as indisputable mathematical truths. These views both share the idea that we, as humans, should try to bring good into the world and be as moral as possible. The difference is that utilitarianism states that no matter what a person should never stray from the moral that will bring the greatest good. Kant justifies that under certain circumstances one could stray from the moral as long as the truths are logically consistent and universalizable. Utilitarianism is broken down into two categories; act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. The act utilitarian believes that one cannot establish rules in advance to cover all situations, actions and people because they are all different. The rule utilitarian believes that there are enough human motives and situations to justify setting up rules that apply to all humans and situations. Kant’s duty ethics were broken down into categorical imperative and practical imperative. According to categorical imperative an act is immoral if the rule that would authorize it cannot be made into a rule for all humans. Practical imperative states that no human should be thought of or used merely as a means for someone else’s end but rather each human is a unique end in himself. There are similarities and differences between these two groups of categories.
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