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The utilitarianism and deontological theory of Immanuel Kant
Utilitarianism was a current that dominated until the beginning of the 20th century. In utilitarianism, several phases were distinguished classical utilitarianism whose authors stand out are Bentham and J.S million of which we will emphasize this research, the ideal utilitarianism and preferably utilitarianism. These authors defend that the purpose of life is to achieve happiness. Jeremy Bentham was born in 1748 of British nationality, was a philosopher, economist thinker and writer, father of utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 in London, he was a political and economist philosopher, he was a great representative of utilitarianism raised by his godfather Jeremy Bentham and defender of freedom. On the other hand, Kant’s deontology. This author was born in 1724 in Russia and is the modern philosopher that has most influenced and the most revolutionary among thinkers, triedThese two ethics contrast with the ultimate goal of obtaining the similarities or contradictions between both currents. So what ethics would be more useful to solve a moral problem?
Utilitarianism and deontological theory are opposing and controversial positions among themselves. Utilitarianism was one of the most important ethics of the nineteenth century, related to hedonism since it considers that moral actions consist of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain while Kant’s deontological theory is an ethic in which morality isdefined by the intention, so that human behavior is no longer linked to external purposes so that utilitarian actions based on their own and collective feelings or interests if they are not a product of duty have no moral value.
Philosophical doctrine that places utility as a moral principle, argues that an action is morally correct if it drives happiness. The utilitarian ethics was coined at the end of the 18th century in England by Jeremy Bentham and later by John Stuart Mill. Both identified the good with pleasure, which is why they were considered hedonistic since they affirmed that the greatest amount of good for the greatest number must be achieved.
The main characteristics are to identify happiness with pleasure and absence of pain, recognize that the greatest happiness of society is what is manifested in the greatest number of people, judging man as a being able to expand their abilities, understand happiness asThe most important value worldwide.
Jeremy Bentham utilitarianism.
According to this author, being human is governed for pleasure and pain for which man will only move for this, defending the principle of greater happiness in which an action is correct without taking into account the intrinsic nature, if it produces utility with respect to theend of maximum happiness.
For Bentham the utility principle allows to approve or not an action based on the amount of pain or pleasure produced, that is, the consequences that produce such action. On the other hand, there is an equivalence between the good linked with happiness and pleasure and the bad such as pain, being able to quantify or measure both making the following formula that is the total Bein minus the total evil has to be greater than the net amount of anyact. To measure pleasure or pain takes into account intensity, duration, certainty or uncertainty..
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
Bentham collaborator who continues with the doctrine of utilitarianism. But in contradiction with Bentham, Mill said that the important thing about happiness was not the quantity if not the quality, so he defended that there were pleasures that are differently different, and this qualitative difference causes higher and lower pleasuresmoral or intellectuals superior to physical pleasure. Another big difference with Bentham is that for Mill there were internal sanctions in which people’s actions are regulated both by guilt and remorse. Mill I use utilitarianism in favor of law and social policy.
Kant elaborated a formal ethic whose purpose is not to indicate what we should do or how to achieve it, but that he tries to find out the formal characteristics that a fact must fulfill to be considered moral, he is not interested in the content, if not the form. Kant defends that a fact is morally valid if it is universal and necessary
Kant criticizes material ethics such as utilitarianism since they are empirical or posteriori ethical, hypothetical and heteronomes and defends that an ethic must be universal a priori without influence of experience, seeks categorical imperatives that are universally valid and necessary.
It is an ethic that is based on duty, based on a vision "without consequences" of people and moral decision making. It is to fulfill an action if it is according to the law that the will gives itself autonomously, that is, it speaks 3 self-locking that we consider correct or not, if not because it is the right thing. Regarding the duty Kant distinguishes in three types of actions, the actions contrary to duty, that is, those that are immoral, the actions in accordance with duty that are merely legal and finally the actions for duty that are moral actions.
For Kant the only morality is the duty acting according to moral law. So Kant argues that actions are not justified by their consequences, but other factors, other than good results, determine the "correct" of actions unlike the utilitarianism in which the purposes justify the media.
Developed by Kant in his work "foundation of the metaphysics of customs" by imperative refers to the law that the will gives itself following the reason, as categorical to which it is valid and universal and defends that every moral must be guidedFor these imperatives, everything is guided to indicate that form must have the maximum of your action so that it is universally valid.
The two formulations that Kant makes are "work only according to a maxim such that you can want at the same time that universal law becomes" and "work in such a way that you use humanity, both in your person and in the person of any other, always, alwaysas an end at the same time and never only as a medium ‘. For Kant, the key to morality is the imperative, which is an unconditional principle that cannot depend on the circumstances being necessary to fulfill it even if our desires or inclinations are opposed.
Both philosophical currents have the main idea that man is selfish by nature and needs something that leads him to act morally correct.
The main differences between these ethics is that utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethic, in which what guides moral behavior is happiness, while Kant argues that the consequences of action is not good even if it implies pleasure, but thatThe good thing is duty regardless of the benefit that gives us and moral behavior is guided by duty, which sends or prohibits us from performing a certain action, in addition, utilitarianism is heteronomous, that is, the will is determined by external factors, followingcustoms or according to his wishes and not for his reason while Kant is a defender of autonomy
Finally, Kant defends that a rule is good or not from the categorical imperatives that do not tell us that we have or what to do, if not how to do it and defend that an action is morally correct when it acts freely, out of respect for the lawmoral and not for desires or inclinations as indicated by utilitarists.
From my point of view, I consider that both ethics are very interesting since they both treat the human being as a selfish being and have to be forced by something to act correctly, but I think that from Kant’s perspective it is clearer, he is important toThe intention and the search for social integrity in which the end does not justify the environment while utilitarianism the only important one is the result, so it may seem to some extent a selfish ethic in which the end does justify the media.
Another aspect that I want to emphasize is that for utilitarians you have to develop a formula to obtain the total benefit of an act, so it seems difficult to get it to reality to solve the existing moral problem, another complicated factor is the predictability,since thinking that many factors can be escaped that we cannot predict.