rule utilitarianism vs kantianism
Utilitarianism has much to offer and, indeed, it seems to be well represented by its advocates at some prestigious American universities. It may be necessary to tell a lie to save someone who is hiding from a murderous, jealous lover. Thus we can come up with a rule that lying is wrong except in the above circumstances. Any special circumstances, no matter how devious, could then be incorporated into the rule. Could torture-murder be incorporated into the rule. There is nothing on utilitarian grounds that would exclude it. Yet many of us would feel that there is something intrinsically wrong with such an act that is not excluded by this consequentialist position. After all, an act is judged to be moral purely on the grounds of its consequences. Deontologists, like Immanuel Kant, believed that it was not the consequences that determined the rightness or wrongness of an act, but something intrinsic to the act itself, done out of a sense of duty.
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Onora O’Neill simplifies Kant’s moral theory through the Formula of the End in Itself, which is acting in such a way that treats humanity as an end, as opposed to a mere means. To use someone as a mere means is to “involve them in a scheme of action to which they could not in principle consent” (O’Neill 412). To treat a person as an end is to respect an individual “as a rational person with his or her own maxims” (O’Neill 412). After an understandable explanation of Kantian ethics, O’Neill shows the advantages of Kantianism over utilitarianism.
Not going to lie, this was a really good essay that had me rethinking comments that I posted earlier. The idea that you leave the essay on, disputing the definitions/life of Kantianism and Utilitarianism , clearly shows that you for one agree more with Kantianism. I for one , do agree with the idea of being a “rational being”; but , in the same sense I do like to see happiness of others. Obviously since I cant the best of both worlds, to answer your conclusion of questions I make the decision to be neither. As you stated in earlier comments, ethics will never be perfect especially since every one has there own opinions. Furthermore, I feel as though every situation calls for a different solution. I don’t need to do math problems at every situation in life, and I surely cant’ just be quick on my feet either !
According to the case highlighted, it becomes evident that Brophy would give in to voluntary euthanasia because he prefers immediate death than long periods of suffering (92). His medical condition is chronic because he has been on the persistent vegetative support for over a year, without exhibition of any visible change despite all the medical interventions. He had communicated his support for euthanasia in reference to the cases that he had observed before his current predicament. He had communicated his preference to his wife, brothers and friends (94). This explains why they have given consent to passive euthanasia that will involve withdrawing nutrition and fluids to facilitate his death in two weeks. The hospital does not support passive euthanasia, and the court ruled in support of the hospital.
The central principle of this moral theory is the ‘greatest happiness principle’. This principle implies that judgment of actions occurs according to the measure and proportion that they cause happiness or its reverse state (84). Mill opined that highly ethical actions cause a high level of happiness while less ethical decisions are those causing people feelings that contrast to the state of happiness. Happiness in this context also denotes the lack of pain. Such a state should offer pleasure to the people. According to this principle, circumstances, events, and actions that exhibit a high level of pleasure become the preferred options while those with low levels of pleasure are not preferable (89).
4. Practical, clear-cut procedure : Utilitarianism doesn’t rely on vague intuitions or abstract principles. It allows psychologists and sociologists to determine what makes people happy and which policies promote the social good [ Warning/paper advice: Do not use this as your main reason why you like this theory – flipping a coin as Two Face in “The Dark Knight” is a simple ethical decision procedure, but that by itself does not make it a good theory ].
I. Evaluation of Kant’s ethical view:
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