PHI 330 UM Comparison Between Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism Essay

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PHI 330

University of Miami

PHIL

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Topic: critically compare Kantian ethics with utilitarianism.


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Running head: COMPARISON BETWEEN KANTIAN ETHICS AND UTILITARIANISM

Comparison between Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism
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COMPARISON BETWEEN KANTIAN ETHICS AND UTILITARIANISM

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Comparison between Kantian Ethics and Utilitarianism
Ethics has played a crucial role in moral dilemmas since time immemorial. It deals with
how an individual can handle choices according to his/ her obligations. Thus, also doing this
systematically is what is known as ethical practice (Mandal et al., 2016) Kantian ethics, which
originated from Immanuel Kant is the only ethical theory that is deemed to rival Utilitarianism.
Jeremy Bentham, on the other hand, is responsible for creating the first theory on Utilitarianism.
Both ethics theorists published their theories during the final years of the 18th century
(Timmermann, 2014) Kantian ethics, therefore, refers to the ethics of obligation where the
rightfulness or wrongfulness of a specific act rely on the nature of the said act. That is to say that
whether there would be consequences or not, harming others is not at any point acceptable. This
theory is thus more focused on a single person’s decisions. This comes at a cost since sometimes
a good outcome for the community at large is not guaranteed. Utilitarian ethics, on the other
hand, refers to obligations where decisions are made depending on how much benefit is going to
be achieved by the community and is therefore not focused on an individual. This is a
consequential approach to ethics. This theory suggests that were harm to befall a certain small
group of individuals while the rest of the society is safe, it is morally upright. This type of ethics
is divided into the rule and act Utilitarianism whereby in rule, decisions are made through a
certain set of rules which rely on certain grounds while in the act, decisions are made through
analysis of the benefits and failures, therefore, focusing on consequences that are better in
general. This having been stated, it is evident that rule utilitarianism is better than act in the
process of guidance to the making of a decision (Mandal et al., 2016).
Regardless of being on the opposite side of each other, the Kantian and Utilitarianism
theories have a few similarities, the obvious one being that the two theories were formed around

COMPARISON BETWEEN KANTIAN ETHICS AND UTILITARIANISM

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the same time in the late 18th century (Timmermann, 2014). Both theories deny the importance
of individual/ perso...


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