Comparing Kantian Ethics And Utilitarianism

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Ethical theories are philosophical concepts put in place to help justify and evaluate the morality of human actions. These ethics are seen as fundamental principles for decent human conduct when deciding what is right and wrong. Two of the most well known ethical theories are Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism. Kantian ethics defines morality based on an individual’s rationality and self-control (Warburton pg: 38). Where as Utilitarianism defines morality based upon the ability to express pleasure and avoid pain (Warburton pg:47)

Kantian ethics is categorized as a duty-based theory (Warburton pg: 39). Emmanuel Kant, the founder of this ethical theory descried moral judgment as one based upon a sense of duty. What Kant meant by this was that …show more content…

For instance when considering what is the best possible action, Kantian ethics specifically states that one should act on a sense of duty. For example a murderer is looking for a family member and you know their where about. If the murderer were to ask you for their location would you listen to the categorical imperative, which states that one should not tell a lie and give the murderer the information, or act from your sense of duty to protect your family member (Warburton pg: 44). What would be the right thing to do in this situation?
When facing ethical dilemmas regardless of how serious they may be, Kantian ethics sets nonnegotiable guidelines, which can be an advantage as they are very direct. However, the lack of consideration for difficult situations has to be the biggest disadvantage for adopting Kantian ethics (Warburton pg: 45).

In comparison to Kantian ethics, Utilitarianism gives greater perspective to difficult situations and factors in consequences (Warburton pg: 47). While Kantian ethics deals with the question of what is right and wrong from the standpoint of duty, Utilitarianism view the question from the standpoint of what generates the greatest overall amount of happiness (Warburton pg:

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