Kant or Mill
Instructor Gallup Kant or Mill 14 November 2011 The topic of Kant and John Stuart Mill produces much debate. Both scholars have their own beliefs that they deem to be appropriate point of views in the way man should view a moral life. In this paper I plan on elaborating on both Kant and Mill’s point of views. This paper will first talk about John Stuart Mill’s beliefs on morality and what he deems appropriate. Then in the next segment of the paper, Kant views will be dissected and discussed.
Only after careful consideration of both men points of view, will I take a stance on the philosopher that I deem to be the more just. In concluding my results I will state my closing remarks on the topic of Mill and Kant. John Stuart Mill believed in what he called Utilitarianism. I want to say utilitarianism was the belief in doing what is good solely for the greater good of the masses. Now with that definition of the term being stated. I asked myself how could that be achieved. Mill’s belief is that happiness of the masses should result in happiness throughout.
That happiness should be attainable because of his belief that we were all born with a clean slate and all we had in our heads are sense perceptions (Mil –block 1Page 3 Paragraph 4). Okay, if that is true all we would have to do is teach our kids that we should do the right thing and the world would be fixed. Unfortunately, the block material states that man has had these problems from the dawn of philosophy. So unfortunately we would not be able to fix the problem that easy. If the world could be fixed that easily I would not have had to take this class.
Mill’s theories stuck out in comparison, especially when he gave his thoughts on utilitarianism in a systematic view. This was when he gave his ideas of pleasure and pain. That morality is grounded—namely, that pleasure, and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain (Mill-Block 2/page 3/paragraph 1). After I read this passage.
It made me think of laziness in people. Good come from pain. The old saying is nothing easy is good and good things require hard work in order to be attained. The second theory of John Stuart Mill that I would like to point out is on quality and quantity. In my opinion, Mill use deductive reasoning to justify the claim of quality being something that you have or you don’t have. On the other hand he talked about quantity and how some act gave a large amount of pleasure and how some act gave a small amount of pleasure. The best example of this theory is money.
Yes, if you have a large quantity of cash. Your quality of life does improve and your happiness could either improve or decrease. Depending on your moral worth. If you take a person that is not moral at heart the quantity or quality of his possessions will not bring him to the happiness that Mill was theorizing on. Kant is my next subject matter of discussion. His views are more convoluted and difficult to explain. Kant views were that on, what he would believe to be, the base of altruistic good. The first axis on Kant’s theory that I would like to present is his take on rational good will.
What I got out of the reading on his rational good will theory was even if you do a good deed it still might not possess characteristic of determinism or egoisms. That qualification was being true and just. In Kant’s block on metaphysics of morals (Block-1/page-2 /Paragraph-1) states; Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification [good without qualification], except a good will. The text tells us that happiness cannot be the purpose of humanity. Yet good will brings happiness.
Kant argues that we can have happiness without reason and reason without happiness. Because we are instinctive people and our morals should be based upon our instincts not on our prejudged beliefs of a particular or accidental outcome. Acts done “from duty” are the truly altruistic ones; act that simply “accord with Duty” are those that appear to be altruistic but actually have self-serving motivation (Kant- Block 2, Paragraph 7). Duty is another coined term in Kant’s arsenal that required a lot of thought on what he really meant when he used the term.
My breakdown of duty is doing an unselfish act while helping others in the process while doing what right for nature under their own free will. Between the two great philosophers there are many differences in there beliefs. Yet the one belief that they do have in common believes that their view was the more just for morality. In conclusion Kant’s philosophy is undoubtedly the more just and moral. Mill’s work was more understandable as I was reading to text. Yet Kant’s theory’s just made more sense to me end the end. When you look at Mills view on utilitarianism.
The examples that he gives would only work if a person were a Saint. There are not a number of people that will put other people in front of themselves. Kant’s views are more based around real-life instances that would occur in the real world. Kant’s View on law was really the turning point in my decision on which side to take. The term “law” in Kant’s usage meant of natural being. I took it as being free to make decision on you own free will. These laws he spoke of were the basic of life. It refers to what I called the golden rule. Those Golden rules were what he uses to judge morality.
In Kant (Block 4 / paragraph 17) states; and should I be able to say myself, ‘Every one may make a deceitful promise when he finds himself in a difficulty from that he cannot extricate himself? ” Then I presently become aware that while I can lie, I can by no means will that lying should be a universal law. Kant wanted to base results of actions on the action, while Mill wanted to base his results on the outcome of the action. In both cases you can have just cause. Yet, I tend to be more on the side of Kant’s views. I too feel that an act can be good without having a good end result.
For example, if a man goes to jail and the bailiff forgets to fingerprint you it would be a goo deed to go back and get fingerprinted. Which is truly an altruistic deed. If I were to use that same example and base it off of Mill’s theories it would have a different end result. Under Mill’s laws more that likely a person would not even consider the thought of going back to a jail to be fingerprinted because it does not produce any happiness. The reason I chose Kant’s views’ is because he make a better argument on the bases that morality can bring pain and still be just with or without a happy ending.