Discussion on Utilitarianism and Kantianism (Reaction Paper Sample)
Essays should be a minimum of 850 words. The attached outline is not required and is only for your own personal use in formulating and organizing your ideas.
A unique feature of utilitarianism is that no act can be intrinsically wrong because the rightness or wrongness of an action is solely determined by the moral calculus. This contradicts the standpoint of Immanuel Kant who argues that if morality is objective and lawlike, then it must provide categorical imperatives, which are moral rules that are exceptionless and universal. In other words, Kant’s position is that there are some acts that can never be morally justified and will always be wrong. Are there such ‘moral absolutes’ or is the moral permissibility of an action a result of the consequences brought about by the act? In answering this question make sure to clearly explain both the utilitarian and Kantian perspective as to why each position holds the view ascribed to it and then offer 2 arguments in support of your view, consider an objection and respond to that objection.
Utilitarianism and Kantianism
Utilitarianism and Kantianism
Utilitarianism is a derivative of ethical philosophy that assumes the position of right and wrong, exclusively, on the results of choosing a deed over others; as such, it considers the comfort one derives from this choice, as well as the pleasure other individuals or/and groups derive (Mill, 2016). Conversely, ethics and morals examine the rightfulness or wrongfulness of an action. Further, ethics also stands for the laid rules, often considered obligatory, that govern workplaces, as well as religious values. Definitively, morals denote a person’s philosophies that regulate right and wrong in their actions. In utilitarianism, right and wrong depend on outcomes, which is the level of goodness or badness of an action. Typically, one person’s “good” action may justifiably qualify as “bad” in another individual’s perspective; in the same measure, a wrong can produce excellent results if justifiably considered right by another person. Nevertheless, Immanuel Kant differs from this mode of examining deeds as he asserts that an action’s rightfulness or wrongfulness should not depend on people’s interpretation of its consequences. He believed that the appositeness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they fulfill people’s obligations towards moral justice and credibility (Baron, 2018). Consequently, Kant asserts that some actions remain morally unjustifiable and, thus, regardless of their outcomes, are wrong. Siding with Kant, moral permissibility relies on the consequences of an action.
The Utilitarian and Kant’s Perspective
Utilitarians hold the belief that actions ought to yield the sheer expanse of happiness. Act utilitarianism (AU) defines the moral philosophy that establishes a morally right action, one that often maximizes well-being (Makoto, 2018). AU does not, in any sense, resemble self-centeredness, and as such, should not be confused. The self-importance only ascribes to its contentment; AU requires that every person’s comfort counts correspondingly. For example, if a terrorist(s) right to life violates those of many more people, then killing the individual terrorist or a group of them is right and necessary. Similarly, if a serial killer ruins the happiness of many by his/her heinous action of murdering, then his/her execution becomes essential since many people will remain alive after executing the serial killer. These illustrations show the main objective of the utilitarians; to maximize the greater good out of a particular action. Therefore, if violating one specific right to commit a wrong that will, in turn, produce a more significant amount of happiness is necessary, it (the violation) is then obligatory. Utilitarianism encompasses actions or intrinsic values that neither get tied to positivity nor negativity, or either bad or good consequences, but are related to the amount of happiness that comes from such actions.
Kantian ethics, founded on Immanuel Kant’s prerogatives, assert that the ultimate principle of morality is the Categorical Imperative (CI) (Wood, 2017). He asserted that the CI is expressible in a few divergent, nevertheless, corresponding approaches. Firstly, the Universal Law Formula requires that people act solely guided by principles that are exceptionless and universal rules that extend to and include every person (Kleingeld, 2017). Secondly, the Categorical Imperative relates to the principle of humanity. The principle of humanity requires that human beings treat others in line with the ends to an act as opposed to considering the means to act. Kant believed that the policy of tolerance should apply to everyone at all times, in a manner promoting the sanctity of life (Pogge, 2017). In the Kantian perspective, since every person has free will and reason, with the capacity to make moral judgments, people must resist any temptation or inclination, for instance, to terminate another person's life even if it results in the maximization of happiness.
Kantianism and utilitarianism adopt different approaches to defining when an act is right or wrong. Inferring from Kant, people should consider the maxims, or purposes, of a specific action. On the other hand, the utilitarianism argument upholds that if killing an enemy, say a group of intruding terrorists, maximizes national well-being, the death of those terrorists is necessary rather than capturing them and risking them persisting with their plans or escaping. Therefore, utilitarian and Kantian thinking define what moral rules are acceptable, and what concessions are permissible depending on an individual’s perception and circumstances necessitating and informing a particular action. As such, and arguably, it is difficult to know the specific considerations or rules that one would maximize in utilitarianism. Likewise, the pertinent Kantian perspective doe
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