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Kant and Mill: A Comparison of Their Ethical Philosophies

Feb 25, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 25, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

This paper holds a discussion with a detailed description of the various designated passages reflecting on the ethical viewpoints of Kant and Mill. Both the comparison and the contrast of the philosophers’ works undergo critical analysis, and towards the end, a television episode evaluates the situation at hand to explain how it is an ethical predicament. Finally, a single stance or viewpoint of the two philosophies is determined as a supreme to the other.

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Immanuel Kant:

“Our Entire Knowledge Starts With the Senses, Continues To the Comprehension or Understanding, and Concludes With Reason. Nothing Is Greater Than Reason.”

Kant in his moral philosophy suggests that to be beneficent when we are able is a sense of responsibility. The message demonstrates obviously that every human’s motivation has an ethical value if only performed because responsibility demands so. The opinion is very imperative to Kant’s philosophy since he uses a vast space in the entirety of his moral viewpoint in explaining that good will is only excellent in itself. For example, Aristotle thought that moderation is good; however, Kant adheres to norm that the action is only good if done by a person of good will. A cunning child molester or a daring embezzler become worse than they would be since their potential commendable traits surely make them deficient in the good will they claim in public.

Ideally, a good will does not depend on its outcome or results for it to become excellent. For instance, if a wounded patient receives treatment of the abrasion from a surgical doctor, and in the process, the lesion faces contamination; the doctor still stands as morally upright. On the other hand, if person A tries to please person B by being generous and impartial because of his attraction to person B and wants his counterpart to think the sound of him, other than taking the service as part of his duty, then the action is deemed morally ill or not good. Briefly, Kant is trying to stress the point, which is imperative in the development of other philosophical lessons under his watch. He stresses that all actions taken as responsibility are ethically upright in connection with their subjective significance of violation, known as Maxims.

Responsibility or duty according to Kant refers to the obligation of acting by the law, where the law is the purposeful principle o standard of infringement. Furthermore, Kant stresses that a maxim should only be morally sound if it complies with a universal or common law. The maxim must be in a position to effect on all human beings equally at all times.

John Stuart Mill:

“Inquire Why You Are Contented And You Will Stop To Be So.”

Mill was a pleasure-seeking man, concisely, an ethical, and a psychological hedonist. A psychological hedonist normally acts as in pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain, while an ethical hedonist demands that every person takes action in seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. Mill accepted the utility principle known as utilitarian in his philosophical works, stating that a person should act towards promotion of maximum happiness or contentment for the utmost number. In his argument, mill suggests that any action is correct provided it gives pleasure and prevents pain, and very wrong if instead it gives pain and denies happiness.

Mill classifies pleasures into those of the mind known as higher pleasures and those of the body commonly referred to as lower pleasures. Conversely, the former’s outcome is happiness, and the latter’s result is contentment. Mill suggests that all higher pressures are worthwhile compared to all lower pleasures without regarding the intensity. For example, if person X has greater abilities of the mind to understand higher pleasures than person Y, then person Y will be contented with smaller things that do not amount to happiness. On the other hand, person X will need a greater or superior deal to feel happy or be content.

Analysis: Comparison and Contrast

In responses to their similarities, it is worth noting that both philosophers are logically strong and excellently created their arguments. The differences between the two philosophies, however, are more transparent since they seem to be divergent in many aspects. Kant sets his thoughts in deontological ethics, which is a viewpoint of ethical responsibility, of duty. For him, an action is correct only if done for reasons of responsibility or of duty. Mill, on the contrary, holds a teleological analysis of ethical philosophy, which explains things regarding their final objectives or goals. For Mill, an action is only correct provided it gives pleasure and prevents pain, and otherwise very wrong if it gives pain and denies happiness.

Evaluation of a Situation: Kant’s Deontology

In a television show, a fruit vendor has bought sacks of fruits that unfortunately have gone slightly bad and the trader is in a dilemma between choosing to sell them at a cheaper price and dumping them because they are not fit for consumption. In response, I accept to Kant’s argument in solving the whole predicament, which in larger part attaches our will to our control.

Good people do not act, as good, but always will be a good at all times. In my point of view, this (Kant’s Deontology) is the best approach to instilling morality under our watch and control otherwise; it would be less significant to and possibly subject good people to depravity. On the basis of deciding the best thing to do, the seller’s moral goodness will guide them on what best to do so as to avoid subjecting people to health hazards.


Pojman, L. P., & Vaughn, L. (2014). The moral life: An introductory reader in ethics and literature. Princeton, NJ: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

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