utilitarianism vs kantianism which is better
Kantianism and utilitarianism have different ways for determining whether an act we do is right or wrong. 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” (O’Neill 414). 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. 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. (O’Neill 413-415). Christopher Bennett expands on this point by stating that Utiliarians justify punishing an innocent party “if it is necessary to bring about a sufficiently important good effect” (Bennett 59). Additionally, promises, which are typically binding in our society, can be broken if it produces a greater good. This can be applied to any promise, including those made with loved ones. Utilitarianism sometimes involves the sacrifice of an individual’s happiness or life in order to promote the greatest amount of happiness and the least amount of misery (Bennett 71).
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? A world based off of trust or a world full of broken promises? A world full of calculations or a world with quick decision making? The decision is yours.
Kant’s idea is that the Categorical Imperative should function as a decision rule for right action. The general idea behind the CI is that you shouldn’t act on motives you wouldn’t want to be universal law… so, in essence, you shouldn’t do what you wouldn’t want others to do….
All of this boils down to a test of your motives — if your motive for action (maxim) passes the categorical imperative, your action is permissible.
Additionally, the Greatest Happiness principle permits us to cause pain to others, as long as the majority of a community becomes happier. Slavery, abuse, bullying, rape, and murder can be justified under utilitarianism. Murderers could justify their action by simply killing all of those who opposed them.
live and love life
a. Hume’s first objection: Reason doesn’t discover moral rules . Morality is feeling, affect, or sentiment.
2. Lack of autonomy/integrity of the moral agent (Act Utilitarianism) [STRONG] : Utilitarianism takes moral responsibility out of the realm of personal autonomy. The agent must choose the one act that will maximize happiness, as opposed to his/her own moral projects that rank second or below that, which technically would be immoral to do, even if they create a lot of happiness. If you like the idea of choosing your own moral projects, Utilitarianism is not for you.
Moreover, Mill highlighted that both quantity and quality of pleasure were critical in the choice of moral action taken. As mentioned, actions likely to yield increased level of pleasure were preferable. Better still, an individual would choose an action that would yield high quality pleasure (90). This translates to the fact that pleasure has both quantitative and qualitative ratings. The principle of quality versus the quantity of pleasure proves highly influential in the choice of actions that an individual can take. In addition, Mill highlighted the criticality of designing ‘an act versus rule’ utilitarianism where each individual should identify rules that translate to a measure of utility and rely on such rules when making moral decisions (92).
As described above, it evident that, in Kant’s view, duty, good will, and moral worth is the critical aspects in determining ethical decisions taken. In his view, one could only settle on morally worth decisions when guided by goodwill and duty and, therefore, euthanasia is ethically wrong. On the other hand, the central principle of the ethical view is that actions taken should produce happiness and pleasure to a large number of people, and euthanasia is ethically preferable.