Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem

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Added on  2023-01-11

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This document discusses the ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontological ethics, focusing on the distinction between Bentham's and Mill's formulation of utilitarianism, and the role of the Categorical Imperative in Kantian ethics. It also explores the mind-body problem, discussing substance dualism and materialism.

Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem

   Added on 2023-01-11

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Running head: PHILOSOPHY
Name of the student:
Name of the university:
Author note:
Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem_1
Q1. Unit 4:
Ethical theories have been an important part of decision making. They build the
foundation while making a decision that would be ethically right considering several aspects of
the situation. Since ethics presents the viewpoints from different perspectives, it presents
guidance while making a decision. One of the most important theories of ethics is utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that helps in focusing the locus on the right or wrong
on the basis of the outcomes. The paper aims to provide a concise formulation of Utilitarianism,
specifically explaining the distinction between Bentham’s and Mill’s formulation of it. Also, the
essay aims to provide a concise formulation of Kant’s deontological ethics explaining the role of
the Categorical Imperative in Kantian ethics. In the end, the essay will provide an argument on
the more plausible theory.
Utilitarianism: utilitarianism is an ethical theory that considers right or wrong on the
basis of the consequences. It can be called consequentialism that is concerned with happiness.
The theory of utilitarianism is based on one’s ability to predict the consequences of an action.
Any choice that helps in bringing greater benefit to the most people or the society will be
considered under the theory of utilitarianism. One of the most common approaches to moral
reasoning is utilitarianism.
According to Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, an action is right if it promotes
happiness and the action is wrong when it produces the reverse of happiness. Jeremy Bentham
was an English philosopher as well as politically radical. He is widely known for his contribution
to his moral philosophy, specifically his principle of utilitarianism. According to Bentham, man
is under two great masters, named as pain and pleasure. The great god that human should seek is
Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem_2
only happiness. Any action that results in increased happiness and it diminish the pain are good,
and they have utility. John Stuart Mills had a different perspective on the concept of
utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill was the child of James Mills who was a close friend of Bentham.
According to Mills’ utilitarianism, pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things that are
desirable as ends which means they are the only intrinsic of goods. He believed that actions are
right in proportion as they tend to produce happiness, actions are wrong in proportion as they
tend to produce the reverse of happiness. happiness for Mill was pleasure along with the absence
of pain and unhappiness is pain along with the absence of pleasure.
The difference between Bentham and Mill are deeply rooted in the fact that Mill’s theory
of utilitarianism was the development of Bentham. While Bentham wrote in his theory of
Utilitarianism in the 18th century, Mill developed his theory in the 19th century. Comparing both
the theories, the two their theories are different in their social and political context. The main
difference between the two theorists is that, while Bentham says to act utilitarian, Mill says to
rule utilitarian. Bentham looks at the consequences of the action while applying hedonic calculus
to every action I order to work out if it will optimize pleasure and minimize the pain. Bethnam
has followed one principle, the principle of Utility. Actions must be adhered to without
exceptions. Mills suggests general rules that can be applied universally across all societies in
order to promote happiness. These rules are important and should not be broken since these rules
are the basis of morality. According to Mill, rules were needed to be broken sometimes and
therefore, he was a weak rule utilitarian.
Deontological ethics was the moral theory created by Immanuel Kant. According to
deontological ethics, people’s actions are to be guided by moral laws. These moral laws are
universal which are cited as a basis for most laws. Kant believed that actions resulting from
Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem_3
desires are not free. Action will be considered as the right action when it performed by the rule
of principle. The theory if focused on the moral duties, obligations and intention that guide the
ethical decision-making. The categorical imperative is devised by Kant in order to present a
formulation through which an individual can reason to determine the right from wrong.
According to the idea of the categorical imperative, the rightness or the wrongness of actions
does not depend on the consequences but on whether they fulfill the duties or not.
After the discussion of utilitarian ethics by Bentham and deontological ethics by Kant, it can be
perceived that while utilitarianism is based outside the action deontology is based on the actions.
The two theories are different than one another. It is entirely based on the situation in order to
claim the plausible theory. In deontology, individuals are valuable while in the utilitarianism, it
makes a person sacrifice for the sake of other people. It is often easy to just do what is an
individual’s duty, however it is difficult to think of others and their wellbeing which is the main
focus of utilitarianism. According to deontology there are certain actions that are always wrong
and can only be performed through wrong direction while the other theory claims consequences
are the determinant of deciding an action wrong or right. Therefore, it is certainly hard to come
to favor one theory as they both have significance in their theory. Both the theories offer
different perspective of one event and can be done in different ways. Although, in the present
day where people believe in individualism, it is mostly the theory of deontology that is plausible
however, when the decision is made following the theory of utilitarianism, people achieve
happiness which is major aim of people.
Philosophy: Ethical Theories and the Mind-Body Problem_4

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