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"Ethics Affect Actions".Examines The Views Of Two Philosophers (Kant And Mill) On How Ethics Affect Appropriate Action. Great For A Philosophy Class And You Can Add Your Own Views And Opinions

1075 words - 4 pages

"Ethics Affect Actions""What is the appropriate action?" It's a controversial question that is a focal point for moral and ethical code. Morals and ethics is, of course, a subject that runs deep in the discussion of philosophy. People are faced with moral dilemmas everyday, which often times they decide without thoroughly examining their options. Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill are two philosophers who focus on the topic of ethics, yet with two different outlooks. Kant is considered a non-consequentialist, which means he feels the intentions, motives, and good will are more important than the results or consequences of an action. On the other hand, Mill is considered a consequentialist, which means he feels happiness is the ultimate end of humanity. It seems that Kant and Mill would stand opposed on many ethical topics, like the question of meeting with Professor Wagstaff. A student has made a promise to meet with Prof. Wagstaff to discuss philosophy, but the student's friend suddenly falls ill and begs to be taken to the hospital. With urgency of the situation growing, the student then asks himself what he should do. He might ask himself what Kant and Mill feel is the appropriate action, but before he can do that we must fully understand their thoughts on ethics.The backbone of Kant's philosophy is the belief in the fundamental freedom of the individual. Kant did not indicate anarchy, but rather the idea of self-government and the creation and obedience of universal laws. He believed the moral value of an action is assessed not from the purpose of the action, but from the "maxim" from which the action springs. He defines a maxim as a personal policy in the cause-effect framework. Kant said that a person should only act on these maxims that could be willed into universal laws. In order to create a universal law, the action must be done out of good will or a pure hearted motive. Kant felt that you can't do something wrong from a right motive. A person should act because it is the right thing to do and for no other reason. Also, the motive must be relevant when considering moral value. A person shouldn't be given credit for committing a morally valuable act when they did it simply for the reward. Kant even discards altruistic motives because to act solely for the happiness of others suggests that if our actions did not always evoke happiness then we would have no obligation to do it.Kant focused more on the motives and intentions of an action to assess value, whereas Mill focuses more on the ultimate end of the action. Mill's principle states that an action is "right" in relation to how it promotes happiness. Mill felt that happiness is desirable enough by itself and everything else is desirable in relation to its production of happiness. Mill defines happiness as the production of happiness and the absence of pain. Unlike Kant's focus on the individual, Mill believed in considering the happiness of everyone that might be affected by the action....

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