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The Concept Of Happiness According To Kant ( With The Categorical Imperative) And Mill (With The Utilitarianism)

1096 words - 5 pages

Kant vs. MIll"Happiness"In two words the concept of happiness exemplifies the "American dream". People go to any means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in each individual, and ultimately in the end, the emotion remains the ultimate goal. John Stewart Mills, a nineteenth century philosopher, correctly supported the pursuit of happiness, and maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the utmost objective. Mills promoted his views of natural human tendency and his arguments supporting his theory that above all else, happiness was the most important dream to be fulfilled. Although Mills believed so strongly in his idea of ...view middle of the document...

Mill defines utility as "happiness" and constructs a system in which ethical judgment o action is based on the action's tendency to maximize net happiness. Mill proposes that some types of happiness and pain are better or worse than others when he states, " Of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure." And these judgments thus create the groundwork for deciding what action in a given situation is most moral. The major flaw to Mill's argument is that by making net happiness the first principle of morality, this exploits the few for the well being of the majority. Through Mill's system, it is a moral obligation to sacrifice the happiness of a minority if it means increasing overall happiness. For example one can actually justify such an evil as slavery under Mill's theory of utilitarianism. Mill might respond that the types of pleasure and pain involved are such that the unhappiness of slavery would outweigh the happiness produced in those relying upon it.Utilitarianism works best towards a selfish behavior. It forces the individual to take into account the good of the many before making a decision, thus discouraging action which benefits the individual but harms others. However, utilitarianism fails again when Mills encourages people to sacrifice the good of large portions of humanity if it benefits the majority, therefore completely disregarding the obvious oppression of race, gender, etc that Mills states are unjust. Under this system eventually the majority will produce enough unhappiness because of the numerous acts where people would feel unjust.People don't like pain when it's happening to them, regardless of what happens, and trying to convince masses of people that hey should sacrifice themselves for the common good, when in the end they don't benefit, is a hopeless proposal. No matter what moral system you try to...

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