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Kantianism And Act Utilitarianism Essay

1799 words - 7 pages

Both Kantianism and Act Utilitarianism attempt to define our creation of morality and the importance of individual actions. One important aspect of both ideals in philosophy is that of equality. In terms of ethics, in practice and in study, philosophers seek to understand what governs a persons decisions and what motivates them to make those decisions. Ultimately, any action has a positive or negative reaction. This is a simple scientific fact, yet it can be applied to anyone at any place or time. Given this theory, any action a person makes will (directly or indirectly) affect everyone else. This begs the question: How should a person act, and how will it affect not only their life, but the life of everyone else (through the repercussions of their original action). Many philosophers preach about the pursuit of happiness, because let's face it, everyone wants to be happy. But, in this simple want or need, lies a conflict of desires. With the millions of people on this earth, how can one person expect to act in a beneficial manner for both themselves and the world around them? Everyone is different. It is a basic fact of life, something that we learn at an early age. There are different levels of poverty, well-being, etc. The only way that people will truly act beneficially to themselves and others is through equality. No one is truly satisfied unless situations are fair, just and equal. If one group (or even one person) has more power, money, or opportunities, it is natural to assume that the less fortunate would feel unequal, and eventually would act upon their unrest. So, for everyone to be truly happy, everything would have to be equal. There would be no greed, since everyone would have the same amount of money, and assumedly all other "power-struggle" problems would be eliminated. However, it is illogical to assume that everyone can be given the same opportunities, gain the same amount of experience, wealth, and knowledge, at least in the society we live in today. Instead, the best situation, and the moral and ethical choice a man or woman can make is to treat everyone equally. This not only applies to day to day life, but in every decision and action a person may make. Both Kantianism and Act Utilitarianism focus on morality through equality, and the decision-making processes involved with the two theories. In this paper I will explore the positive and negative aspects of Act Utilitarianism and Kantianism, and explain through discussions of both methods of philosophical thought, why Kantianism better illustrates the importance and value of equality in every action and for every individual.Utilitarianism is a theory of morality, in which decisions and actions are supposed to be based upon the total happiness it creates for the most people (which, theoretically implies in one way or another, everyone in the world). This applies twofold with regard to individual actions, as well as the laws a society creates for its people. Jeremy Bentham is...

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