The Philosophy of Life in Utilitarianism and Kantianism

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

What world would you rather live in? A world where your happiness or life can be taken away from you for the sake of others or a world where you’re acknowledged as a rational being? According to Kant, we should look at our maxims, or intentions, of the particular action. Kantians believe “human life is valuable because humans are the bearers of rational life”. In other words, humans are free rational beings capable of rational behavior and should not be used purely for the enjoyment or happiness of another.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

On the other hand, Utilitarians believe that we should do actions that produce the greatest amount of happiness. The problem with this, however, is that it could involve using people as mere means and may lead to the sacrifice of lives for the greater good. It is easier to determine an action as morally right in Kantian ethics than in utilitarian ethics. When data is scarce, Kantian theory offers more precision than utilitarianism because one can generally determine if somebody is being used as a mere means, even if the impact on human happiness is ambiguous. Kantians “consider only the proposals for an action that occur to them and check that these proposals use no other as mere means” which in my personal belief that this is the same thought process as a machine. Contrastingly, utilitarianism compares all available acts and sees which has the best effects. Although utilitarianism has a larger scope than Kantianism, it is a more timely process.

In which in retrospect of how these two on morale indifferences still see that the best was to decide something is by best ending result. I strongly did agree with the thought process of a method of taking almost zero consequences into account for the out come. The decision-making method of calculating all of the potential costs and benefits of an action is extremely time consuming and leaves little time for promoting happiness, which is the Utilitarian goal.

Immanuel Kant was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; 'things-in-themselves' exist, but their nature is unknowable. Kant's theory is an example of a deontological moral theory according to these theories, the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty. In Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy, it is defined as the capacity of a rational being to act according to principles, pure reasoning. At the foundation of Kant’s system is the doctrine of “transcendental idealism,” which emphasizes a distinction between what we can experience (the natural, observable world) and what we cannot “supersensible” objects such as God and the soul). Kant argued that we can only have knowledge of things we can experience. Accordingly, in answer to the question, “What can I know?” Kant replies that we can know the natural, observable world, but we cannot, however, have answers to many of the deepest questions of metaphysics. Kant’s ethics are organized around the notion of a “categorical imperative,” which is a universal ethical principle stating that one should always respect the humanity in others, and that one should only act in accordance with rules that could hold for everyone. Kant argued that the moral law is a truth of reason, and hence that all rational creatures are bound by the same moral law. Thus in answer to the question, “What should I do?” Kant replies that we should act rationally, in accordance with a universal moral law.

Kant also argued that his ethical theory requires belief in free will, God, and the immortality of the soul. Although we cannot have knowledge of these things, reflection on the moral law leads to a justified belief in them, which amounts to a kind of rational faith. Thus in answer to the question, “What may I hope?” Kant replies that we may hope that our souls are immortal and that there really is a God who designed the world in accordance with principles of justice.

The semantics to this debate is that we have to take a stand on whether or not we should be allowed to end a life over greater good. In this aspect, what are we choosing as are guidelines to what the greater good or the greatest amount of happiness that can possibly be created though this thought process. I believe the utilitarianism view point is better in my mind. Kantianism and utilitarianism have different ways for determining whether an act we do is right or wrong. When in comparison of how we think of things that we decided as right or wrong, especially from a point in which a greater power of god (monotheism) vs Gods (Polytheism) is introduced because how can the separation on conscious thought and rational thinking in human life become different. Because from the way Kant speaks of the 3 big questions he has and his answers to them are flawed because there are plenty of things in the natural world that we can feel but can't physically see. So how would you be able to base a principle of an argument over this considering that faith has no rational concept in the world. We know this because morales have no real test of differentiation in showing that we are morally the same as other living organisms.

So Kantianism shows us that sometimes rationally thinking creatures still have to follow a basic principal. Which show evidence in the fact that aiming for the greater good or even happiness is better. Because those are still principals in which we use today because even in the constitution the pursuit of happiness is something that we should act in the defense of.

Get quality help now

Prof Saney

Verified writer

Proficient in: Philosophers, Philosophical Movements

4.9 (316 reviews)
“He was able to complete the assignment following all directions in an elaborate manner in a short period of time. ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Utilitarianism Related Essays

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.