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Paper Topic:

categorical imperative vs. principle of utility

Categorical Imperative vs . Principle of Utility


Categorical Imperative Defined

This rationally states or utters a course of action independent of whatever goals the

agent may have (Bennagen 110 . By this , Immanuel Kant also wanted to reiterates that the moral law is categorical or that it applies to all situations , and by imperative , he meant , it is commanding , thus making it absolutely authoritative (Bennagen 110

Immanuel Kant stated the Categorical Imperative in two key formulations 1 ) Behave as if the aphorism of your deed were to become through your

will a general natural law , meaning , that it should apply to all people in all societies at all times and 2 ) Behave so that you care for humankind , whether in your own person or in that of another always as an end and never as a means only (Bennagen 110 . By this statement , he meant , we should not exploit others to our own advantage (Bennagen 110

Principle of Utility Defined

The principle of utility , which is the foundation of morals stipulates that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness , and wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness (Bennagen 162 . Happiness , on the other hand , is associated with enjoyment , delight , bliss , gladness , contentment , etc (Bennagen 162 . In addition , for John Stuart Mill , happiness exists if pain is absent (Bennagen 162

Furthermore , John Stuart Mill recognizes that pleasures differ in terms of quality and intensity (Bennagen 162 . With this insight , he has turned down another insight which is this : quality of pleasure is equal ' and so if pleasures differ in quality as well as in quantity and if only those men who have experienced the entire range of pleasures are capable of reflecting upon and coherently articulating their experience are capable of judging quality , then the legislator can no longer .determine governmental policy on the basis of the greatest happiness of the greatest number (Bennagen 162 . John Stuart Mill zeroes in not on the greatest happiness of the greatest number ' but on the greatest happiness ' per se (Bennagen 162 . Utility is still equated with pleasure but now , there is a recognition that pleasures are of varying quality and intensity (Bennagen 162

John Stuart Mill also rejects two other crucial arguments related to this (Bennagen 163 . The first one has something to do with the view that the reasons for human action can all be reduced to self-interest and to the individual 's search for the maximum pleasure (Bennagen 163 Here he stated that individuals can also get pleasure from participation in the happiness of others (Bennagen 163 . Pleasure does not only come from self-interest but also from feelings of humanity and solidarity

The other one entails the fact that the individual is the only one capable of judging his or her own interest (Bennagen 163 . Here , he rejects this by saying that there may be certain instances when government interference is necessary , for instance , in education , labor as well as , issues concerning poverty (Bennagen 163


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