Comparing Kant And Mill's Categorical Imperative

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Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who, similar to John Stuart Mill, created a modern ethical theory. Kant and Mill both believed in a bottom up ethics, which claims that human beings are the legislature of moral law. However, the views of these two philosophers were polar opposites. Kant believes that there is a difference between a right action and a moral action. He first illustrates that a moral action proceeds from duty, obligation or moral law. He then states that a right action does not proceed from duty, obligation or moral law, but rather from another motive such as self-interest, generosity, or happiness. Kant has an understanding that ethics deals with reason, motives, and intentions whereas Mill believes in reason, feeling and interest. In order to disprove the idea that self-interest, sympathy, generosity, and happiness is connected with ethics, Kant creates the concept of the Categorical Imperative. Kant portrays this concept by stating, “Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature” (Kant 30). Kant uses several examples to further one’s understanding of this quote. One example he uses is the story of a man who wishes to borrow money, knowing he will never be able to…show more content…
In this other version he states, “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means” (Kant 36). In this statement, Kant expresses how a human being should be treated as an object of respect rather than used as an object. He uses the example of a man contemplating suicide. Kant believes that if the man takes away his life in order to escape a difficult situation, then he is using his body as a “means.” His desire to end his suffering, causes him to disrespect his body. If the man were to perform such an action, it would not have been considered morally
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