Kant And Mill

The task that stands before me in this paper is to address two situations and
determine the ethical parameters in which a person should act. The two
philosophical approaches that I will examine the situations with the Kantian and
Utilitarian point of view. Kant deciphers his ethical questions by examining a
persons motivation for performing an act regardless of the consequences. A
person who utilizes the Kantian view believes that the only pure good is pure
human reason without consequences. This pure human reason works without the
influence of human emotions and desires. A truly good act as defined by Kant is
performed because of an obligation to the categorical imperative. The objectives
and personal agendas of the individual performing the act must kept separate and
distinct. Utilitarism makes ethical decisions based on the consequences of the
action taken. Unlike the Kantian view the motives are not important just the
consequences. The action is measured by how much happiness or sadness the action
creates. The ideal ethical decision is the one that creates the most happiness
and the least amount of sadness. It nearly impossible to have different degrees
of freedom since a person would have to experience all the various degrees of
freedom to determine what degree of happiness is better than the other. Upon
examining the thief who stole from the millionaire Kant would examine the
motives of the thief. The thief is stealing for himself regardless of his
situation. Even if his family is poor and struggling. The thief is still
furthering himself. The reasons for the thief stealing from the wealthy man
doesnt matter. Stealing is against the universal law that it is wrong to
steal from another person. This applies to everyday life and decision-making
occurrences, needs and wants are thrown out the window. Any form of stealing is
wrong according to Kant. This is a strong argument because it stands firm in
that it is wrong to steal. We are in a society that has laws and regulations
against stealing this keeps order in society. The Kantian view does not waver
despite the possible physical and emotional needs of the thief. Kant doesnt
make exceptions for the poor and unfortunate. A person using the Utilitarian
ethic code would look at the situation then examine the consequences of the
action taken. The millionaire doesnt have a clue that the money is gone.

There are plenty of indicators that the man is stealing quality of life and
material possessions are two for example. As a result of this stealing the man
has brought happiness to himself, his family, and to the community around him
because they dont have to support them. The heavy burdens of poverty and
despair have been vanquished. The burdens of oppression are availed and the
family can rise in class and social status among their peers. The only downside
is the fear of being exposed. If the thief was found out he could lose his
freedom, possessions, and respect of his peers after the discovery of his
treachery. But if the thief remained undiscovered he has made everybody happier.

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By being a sufficient, integral member of society he is making everybody
happier. This analysis is favoring the thief, stealing is not looked upon as a
bad deed. People get jailed, executed, or have body parts removed for theft but
in the utilitarian view he gets away with it as long as he is not found out. The
negative part of this analysis is that one has to steal from another human being
to be happy and successful. Is there a situation where stealing is justified?
The next situation deals with a daughter who lies to her dying father that she
will not marry anyone that has a different religious affiliation. The Kantian
view would first examine the motives of the daughter for lying to her dying
father. By lying to her father the girl is trying to ease the suffering her
father is going through by denying his final wish. She is reassuring him in his
final hours on earth. By lying to her dad she is giving him happiness and trying
to relieve herself of the guilt associated with her fathers anger towards her
for denying his final wish. The Kantian viewpoint would disagree with the
daughter for lying to her father about his final wish. Kant would want her to
tell the truth no matter what the consequences would be. The moral obligation to
tell the truth is the standard she must hold to. She should stick by this policy
because is applies to all of lifes situations. This situation is where the
rule applies. This analysis is strong in that the moral standard is set and this
situation is not a special case. This woman is not killing the man because she
is telling the truth. The weakness of this analysis is that is doesnt allow
for special cases such a dying parent or loved one. The utilitarian point of
view would first look at the consequences of the action taken. In this situation
the consequences are positive ones. If the girl tells her father that she will
not marry a man with a different religious affiliation the consequences are
beneficial. The father dies peacefully and happily, knowing his dying wish will
be followed. The girl made her father very happy by promising to follow his
wish. The only negative would be the lingering guilt that she might marry
somebody outside her religion, but this is only a possibility. The Utilitarian
would agree that telling the father that she will promise not to marry a man
outside her religious affiliation. This decision brings the most pleasure on
both sides of the issue, and prevents the pain and anguish experienced by her
father. This analysis is strong because it suits the utilitarian point of view
so well. The daughter is doing something that will bring the greatest amount of
happiness to greatest amount of people. The main fault to this argument is that
the daughter had to be deceitful to her dying father to bring that happiness to
her father.