Sunday, May 26, 2019
A Comparison between the Moral Philosophy of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant
The discussion on Moral Philosophy and ethics has always been a controversial and very debatable topic, especially if we are to discuss each and every philosophy or ideology of every philosopher starting off from Greece up to the Post Modernists. In relation to this particular philosophy, the author would like to compare two of the philosophers moral philosophies and how each come to have similarities and contrast with each.To be more specific, the author would like to dwell on the similarities and differences surrounded by the moral philosophies of Utilitarianism proponent John Stuart Mill and Idealist Immanuel Kant and to answer the question What are the aboriginal concepts in the moral theory of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant? Furthermore, to be able to answer the specific question What are the similarities and differences in the moral ideologies of Mill and Kant?The school day of Utilitarianism had John Stuart Mill as one of its leading proponents. Mill speaks of morality in the sense of hope versus desirable but he contradicts that of Jeremy Bentham. He promote states that the true utilitarian interprets the greatest comfort principle to mean not my greatest happiness but the greatest happiness of the greatest number.1 Contrary to the early utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham, Mill posits through this principle the concept of greater good for the greater whole.Mill further states that utility would enjoin first, that laws and social arrangements should place the happiness or the interest of every singular, as nearly as possible in harmony with the interest of the whole and secondly, that education and opinion which have so vast a power of human character, should so use that power as to establish in the mind of every individual an indissolvable association between his own happiness and the good of the wholeso that a direct impulse to promote the general good maybe in every individual one of the habitual motives of action.2We can see arising from this argument that Mill was giving more emphasis on the quality of pleasures and not just our personal pleasure and turns towards the good of the whole which we must test. This therefore gives Mill ground morality not just on personal pleasure but more on our obligation towards the hoi polloi or on others.This, according to Mill does not at all contradict with the Utilitarian doctrine / teaching where one aims to seek for happiness or pleasure. check to Mill, happiness is the center of moral life and the most desirable goal of human conduct. The said argument of Mill gives us a gray area in asking what would be the basis or sole basis of desirable?Mill answers that that which is desirable is that we ought to choose. Happiness is something that we craving and it is our moral duty to pursue happiness. Mills moral principle evolves in the concept that an act is good in so far as it produces happiness. Mill was trying to build a moral system that was based on duty, by stating that which ought to do upon what in fact we already do. Happiness for him is put away the ultimate of human conduct.When Mill posited happiness as something that man should sought for out of duty, it cannot but prevent people from raising their counter-arguments with the query how can we rise up that happiness is the true and desirable end of human life and conduct?To answer the query, Mill posits and states that the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable is that people does desire it.3 The answer that Mill provided though has not completely settled his detractors because Mill has made an analogy wherein he compared visible to that which is desirable.According to him, that which is visible means that something is adequate of being seen, thus, that which is desirable automatically makes us desire it. Such a conclusion falls under one of the logical fallacies because that which is seen, by means of the qualification of the mind means it is visible to o ur senses but that which is desirable, cannot and does not automatically become an end that we would ought to desire.The fact lies that the human mind, man, as a person may desire a thing which is not desirable in the first place. Mill proposes that our pursuit is not limited to happiness alone but the pursuit of duty. According to him, a sense of duty directs our moral thought. For him, the basis of morality is a powerful natural sentiment, a subjective feeling in our own minds and the painstaking feelings of mankind.1 Stumpf, Samuel Enoch. Socrates to Sartre A History of Philosophy. Singapore Mc Graw Hill Inc. 1991. p. 348. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. p. 349.
Posted by r at 12:06 PM