In The Categorical Imperative, Kant emphasizes that human autonomy is the essence of morality. He says that one must act not only in accordance to duty, but for the sake of duty However, According to the Utilitarianism, Mill emphasizes that the actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness Immanuel Kant is the founder of the Kantian branch of ethics and morality, and his theories are personally my favorite theory of ethics so far. According to the utilitarianism, the best action is the one that maximizes utility. However, in Kant’s moral philosophy, people
Different from consequentialism, people who tend to have the mind set of a deontologist believe that you should do your ethical duty, regardless of the outcome. Immanuel Kant designed ‘The Categorical Imperative’ theory which was associated with the fact that it was commanding us to practice our morals and desires in a specific way which was exercised through two rules. Kamm (2000) claims that these components were to ‘(1) treat persons as ends in themselves and (2) do not treat them as mere means’. Kamm is basically suggesting that we seek happiness of others, as that is morally right, however fulfill capacities of one’s own intellect. From following both of these we arrive at an imperative and it is categorical.
As mentioned above the importance of reason to Hume is marginal and accessory in his moral theory. The fundamental role goes on the other hand for passions. In fact because we have these passions we need to satisfy them so we invert to institutions which are artifacts that help us provide a regular and secure supply of impressions for our desires. Example, If someone is attached to a belonging, the passion that correspond to this attachment is called avidity, and the institution securing this belonging is called justice. It is the passion that is then at the origin of an institution and all correlative values.
“Realm of Ends” formulation of the categorical imperative, states that we must “act in accordance with the maxims of a member giving universal laws for merely possible kingdom of ends.” (4:439) It acts as a social contract. Kant further explains it that “a rational being belongs as a member of the kingdom of ends when he gives universal laws in it but is also himself subject to those laws.” (4:434) Being subject to a law does not contradict with the concept of a rational being as an end in itself, because it is not like a slavery since it is not subject to arbitrary will. Just the opposite, since it draws central points from the first and second formulation, “the will of a member could regard itself as at the same time giving universal law through its maxim” (4:434) and no member will see another member as a mere mean. On the other hand, autonomy is not equal to self-mastery. For Kant, it is essentially social.
(Scruton, 2001, p.80) People have free will to subject themselves to objective, ethical, moral law. Kant developed his concept of autonomy in which rational individuals able to overcome heteronomous factors, especially include one’s own desire and interest. These elements may trigger conflict with reason and rationality of oneself. (Scruton, 2001, p.80) In this case, reason become a essential factor to how people act morally. Reason has the ability to govern freedom, and therefore it also determines behaviors.
In A Theory of Justice, Rawls aim to justify the principles of justice as fairness by reference to individual rational choice. He grounds his view on the ideas on “society as a fair system of cooperation” and of “citizens as free and equal persons” (Rawls 1995:11). Acknowledging that people have diverse interests, the tries to answer to how they can reach an agreement in matters of justice. The conception of justice as fairness is important in order to understand the logic of principle of justice. In this hypothetical situation of equal liberty, Raws states that free and equal persons concerned to further their own interests define the fundamental terms of their association.
However, there are many qualifications the good will depends on, and not just the inclination to do your duty because it is your duty. The good will may not be the only thing good without limitation, as it must be acted on by something. For example, If Kant’s theory were true, it would mean that it would be very difficult to be a good person because utilitarianism does not allow for acts that go above duty. First, there must be a distinction between what is right and what is good. Doing what is right means more about in conformity with fact, correct in judgement, or truth.
The actions that have the best consequences and thus permissible can sometimes be unjust. Conscience is the decisive sanction for the principle of utility. Mill suggested that every human possesses a natural sentiment of concerning others’ welfare. When such natural sentiment is encouraged, other people’s pleasure would become our standard of moral judgment. 8 By considering the maximum happiness for maximum number of people, we are indeed attempt to place the morality assessment squarely under public observation, instead of being a matter of personal intuitions.
There are a few significant aspects of this definition. First, it shows utility, or the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain, as both the basis of everything that people desire, and as the foundation of morality. However, utilitarianism does not say that it is right for individuals to simply pursue what makes them personally happy. Rather, morality is dictated by the greatest happiness principle, that is, moral action is that which increases the total amount of utility in the world. Pursuing one 's own happiness at the expense of social happiness would not be moral under this framework.
This is supposed to allow us to determine which action has the most benefits or lower total costs and is therefore moral. On the other hand, under the rule utilitarianism, we look at individual acts to see whether they produce more pleasure than the alternatives. If the actions produce more pleasure or have lower costs, then they are the moral types of actions. Rule utilitarianism’s basic strategy is to limit utilitarian analysis to the evaluation of moral rules. Theorists came up with the rule utilitarianism as a response to different concerns critics had about utilitarianism.
The theory of right and wrong characteristics or good and bad behaviors is concerned with morality; its role can shape an individual’s personality which can affect his or her call of action. It is only natural that we should have some kind of sense of duty and physical forces from our experiences that make us have moral laws. It’s an aspect of humanity which helps them make rational decisions and it also serves as guidance for mere goodness. Our existence defines who we are as an individual because of our values that help us see past our wrongdoing and helps improve our future. This can be seen in Sophocles’ story of “Antigone,” Antigone’s character portrays a strong individual who is loyal and values her family more than the society.