The Theory of Kant

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Introduction

Both Kantianism by Kant and Utilitarianism by Bentham’s are theories of ethics that tries to respond to queries about the moral nature of people. Presenting Kant and Bentham's ethics is a standard maneuver in modern philosophy.    Therefore, the manner in which they determine whether the acts people do are correct or incorrect differ. For instance, Kantian theory depicts an actual example of a deontological moral theory. These theories hold that when a person acts in a wrong or right does not depend on the result but on whether the actions fulfill people's duty. Kant argues that people should examine their intentions of carrying out a particular act. According to O’Neill (414), Kant's followers believe that human life is precious since they (humans) are the possessors of the coherent life. This implies that people are free logical creatures able to carry out rational behaviors and must not be applied only for the pleasure or contentment of the other. Therefore, Kant’s morals are purely founded on the notion of “good will.”

Conversely, Utilitarianism disagrees with Kantianism arguing that the worth of people's act is merely dogged by the contributions it makes regarding the standard utility, satisfaction, and happiness of individuals. This, thus, implies that the goal of utilitarians is to assess the moral value of people's action based on pleasure, i.e., whatever forms the highest component of happiness in several human beings is termed as the ethical path of action. Numerous critiques of utilitarianism come up. However, the toughest criticisms are those in the article of “Eleven Objections of Utilitarianism” by Sterling Harwood. The eleven protests are that Utilitarianism is excessively challenging, it abolishes supererogation, it is unfair, and it fails to keep promises. Average and total Utilitarianism produce absurdities, rule-Utilitarianism is incoherent or redundant, Utilitarianism requires people to have the experience machine, and it exaggerates people’s responsibilities to animals. It leads to chauvinist and sadist and making an interpersonal comparison of utility. Moreover, it is also very furtive, autocratic, and exclusive. Therefore, it is known to misuse people resulting to the sacrifice of people's lives for personal gains (O'Neill 413-415).

Christopher Bennett on the other hand also argues that Utilitarianism supports punishment on an innocent person indicating that penalty is significant if it brings about real effects (Bennett 59). In addition to that, promises that are compulsory in society ought to be broken if they yield greater good than cases where there is no good.  This applies to any promises inclusive of those our loved ones make as compared to Kant's theory. Therefore, the aim of Utilitarianism is to review the moral worth of people’s action rooted in joy unlike misery (Bennett 71).

Compare and contrast the theory of Kant (rational autonomy) and Bentham (utilitarianism).

Rational autonomy and Utilitarianism differ in various ways. In Kantian ethics, an action is determined to be morally right with less effort as compared to the activities of utilitarian ethics. For instance, when there is limited data, the Kantian theory proposes more accuracy than utilitarianism since a person can tell if another person is utilized as a simple means as much as the effect on people's happiness is uncertain. Kantians are only interested in suggestions for any form of action that happen to them and ensure that the proposals do not employ misuse others a simple means (O'Neill 413). On the contrary, utilitarianism evaluates all accessible acts so as to identify the one that has greatest outcomes. Even if utilitarianism contains a bigger scale as compared to Kantianism, it is a more appropriate procedure. The executive technique of determining all the possible costs and rewards of activities exceptionally consumes a lot of time leaving less time to promote happiness that is the major goal of Utilitarian  (Bennett 63). Therefore, utilitarianisms take full advantage of the effectiveness that they produce.

There is a possibility of Kantians and Utilitarians having a standard agreement on a normative level. Their dissimilarities lie on the investigative level whereby both theories suggest various systematic structures for ethics (McElwee 460). Kant, for instance, is nervous to reform the required ethical components from others resulting in his split between chaste ethics and realistic anthropology as well as his notable difference among the prudential and the moral. This concern is not on the agendas of the utilitarians. This implies that according to Kant's opinion, utilitarianism confuses morals and prudential anxiety. 

Kantianism provides an adequate basis for an approach to justice

I prefer Kant because of its prerequisite towards justice. Justice cannot be compared with cheerfulness or contentment in the world. Actions of justice may probably result in resentment, disputes, as well as hostility amongst communities. For instance, if the marginal people in a community are significantly singled out, and they happen to be satisfied with it due to the many benefits it brings them. A lot of philosophers consider Kant as the father of contemporary morals and ethics. He is also regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of human history. The fundamental thought behind Kantian ethics is that every individual has an intrinsic value. Utilitarians, for instance, enforce the death penalty; however, this is not the case with Kantians. O'Neil argues that in Kant's theory enforcing death penalty is making decisions based on a maxim which implies that other people are used solely as mere means. I prefer Kantian ethics along O'Neil because justice requires that people not to act maxims because it uses other people as a mere means. 

Unlike Mill, Kant has a strong believe that particular actions such as telling lies, killing or stealing should be totally forbidden even in situations where the actions make people happy than being distressed. Immanuel Kant alleged that telling lies was morally wrong always. In his arguments, he said that everybody is born with an intrinsic value known as human self-worth.  The self-worth originates from the fact that people are not equal logical agents, able to openly make their individual decisions, setting their personal aim, as well as directing their demeanor by reason. According to Kant, being human is having the rational power to choose freely; and being ethical is respecting that power is in an individual and others.

Kant holds that lies are ethically wrong for two reasons. Firstly, telling lies distorts the vital quality of being human: the ability to make free, rational choices. Every lie a person tells contradict the part of that person giving him/her moral value. Secondly, lies rob people their liberty to select rationally, for instance, when a person’s lie makes people make a decision different from what they could have opted for if they knew the truth, that person has harmed those people’s human autonomy and dignity. Kant considered that for a person to value him/herself and others as ends as an alternative of means, he/she has to have perfect duties without exceptions to circumvent destroying, meddling with, or abusing the capability of making free decisions, i.e., no lying.

On the other hand, utilitarianism critics’ excuse for telling lies further realizes how hard it is for any person, even respectable people, to recognize that a lie might convey more good than the truth; the outcomes of the actions are frequently too volatile (McElwee 463). Most of the time, people who tell lies assume that it is their lives that matters, this lead to outcomes that people have no intentions to or  Lies frequently assume "lives of their own" and result in consequences that people do not intend or be unable to predict. Furthermore, it is very tough for an individual to be objective in approximating the good and the damage that his or her lies will create. People contain a vested interest in the lies other people tell and an equal vested interest in considering that the humanity will be better if people lie from one occasion to the next. Thus, critics assert that telling lies is ethically wrong since people unable to precisely determine the benefits and harms of those lies.

According to Kantians, people should ask themselves two questions before taking any action any time they decide to act. The questions include; 1) can people do exactly what other people do to them. In case the response is no, then the action should not be performed. 2) Do my actions respect people’s ambitions rather than using them for personal purposes? Likewise, if the response to the question is no, then the action should not be performed. According to Kant, these questions are equivalent.

Kant argued that if there are no people in the world, then there could be nothing to be treasured.  From the above explanation, people can realize that rationality and reason as significant roles that take part in choosing the proper system structure because all human beings are considered to be rational animals, hence all moral maxims are universal to every intelligent agent. There could be different customs and cultures; however, people's morals remains to be similar all over. This made Kant declare that rationality and reason tend to be similar to the word of God and the authority.   Thus, if we are human then we have a value of and in ourselves, and because the worth has to come from somewhere, then it has to come from the human race. 

In addition to that, Kant’s ethical system was based ideally on the notion of the Categorical Imperative. The suggestion of Kant is that the Categorical Imperatives ought to function as the rule of making a right decision towards a specific action.  Moreover, the main idea behind the Categorical Imperatives is that people should not take action on motives that they would not prefer to be collective law. For instance, they act as a guide to people on what to do and what not to do (A Brief Comparative Analysis of Kant's and Mill's Ethical Systems). Kant in his arguments says that the reasoning of people is the one facilitating human autonomy.  Hence, people can decide and settle on what they want to achieve in the world. This means people are capable of choosing the right behavior.   Therefore, a person should not do what he or she would not want others to do to him or her.

The main variation on the Categorical Imperative is the formulations of “the means" or "the end” that make one of the major variations on the categorical imperative is the "means/ends" formulation. This makes a significant point regarding the manner in which Kant view humanity-people should not treat other human beings as a means to an end or rather people should not be used for personal gains.  All these are based on a person's motives, for instance, if the people’s motivation towards an action (maxim) exceeds the categorical imperative, then the person's actions are acceptable. However, for utilitarians, an individual may be forced to employ whichever means (acts on whatsoever motive) essential to attain an end that in turn boosts happiness, and it is nobody's business to question why an individual performed the act, but the outcome is an increase in happiness.

Conclusion

The approaches towards morality used by both Kant and Bentham are similar (Brief Comparative Analysis of Kant's and Mill's Ethical Systems). However, their approach towards moral system deviates with Kant wanting people to always regard rationality and universal ability as a preposition to moral systems that include thinking and motionless as concrete. On the other hand, Bentham sees the end results of behavior or verdict to be supreme towards the anticipated a behavior or verdict. Bentham's wish is for people to be happy. However, his theory is condemned due to its failure of containing intrinsic ethical significance. A utilitarian would need that for each action that takes place, there has to be an equivalent consequence and should be weighed thoroughly and options proposed prior to making a decision on performing such action or not. Therefore, utilitarianisms take full advantage of the effectiveness that they produce. Furthermore, the utilitarian theory argues that whenever decisions are made, there might be a contradiction. 

Telling lies is morally wrong always, and Kant holds that everybody is born with an intrinsic value known as human dignity.  The pride originates from the fact that people are not equal rational agents, able to openly make their individual decisions, setting their personal aim, as well as directing their demeanor by reason. According to him, being human is having the intellectual power to choose freely; and being ethical is respecting that power is on an individual and others.  Therefore, people are free coherent creatures able to carry out rational behaviors and must not be applied only for the pleasure or contentment of the other. Therefore, Kant’s morals are purely founded on the notion of “good will.”

The Kantian theory proposes more accuracy than utilitarianism since a person can tell if another person is utilized as a simple means as much as the effect on people's happiness is uncertain. On the contrary, utilitarianism evaluates all accessible acts so as to identify the one that has greatest outcomes. Even if utilitarianism contains a bigger scale as compared to Kantianism, it is a more appropriate procedure. The executive technique of determining all the possible costs and rewards of activities exceptionally consumes a lot of time leaving less time to promote happiness that is the major goal of Utilitarian. In other words, Utilitarianism is condemned due to its failure of containing intrinsic moral significance. Therefore, utilitarianisms take full advantage of the effectiveness that they produce. They also maintain that contentment is their primary concern since it is intrinsically good. Therefore, if floating of an oath will result in greater satisfaction, then there is no wrong of flouting that oath.

Works Cited

“A Brief Comparative Analysis of Kant's and Mill's Ethical Systems.” Web. March 18, 2017.Accessed at: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~oazeri/onpaper18.html

Bennett, Christopher. “Utilitarianism.” What is this thing called ethics?. London: Routledge, 2010. 55-73

McElwee, Brian. "Impartial Reasons, Moral Demands." Ethical Theory & Moral Practice 14.4 (2011): 457-466. Academic Search Elite. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

O’Neill, Onora. “A Simplified Account of Kant’s Ethics.” 411-415. Blackboard. Web. March 18, 2017

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