Categorical Imperative vs. Utilitarianism?

Even today, Kant’s ethics and his conception of the categorical imperative remain exposed to the formidable challenge posed by Hegel’s critique. In fact, it is not so much the metaphysics of the objective spirit that has been confirmed in the meantime as the seriousness of its main objections: the one that denounces the abstract universalism of a moral philosophy that would have remained insensitive to the concrete historical data of praxis; the one that attacks the empty formalism of the categorical imperative which, relying only on its own eidos, would sublimate the matter of maxims and would only produce tautological judgements; that of the impotence of a pure will, overhanging the being and hearing only the voice of duty, and which, as a result, would remain deaf to the concretions of history where its action must be deployed.

Why is categorical imperative better than utilitarianism?

Contrary to act utilitarianism, which directly applies the principle of utility to singular actions, rule utilitarianism maintains that the calculation of utility should rather concern general types of action, or genres of action. It is true that many authors, especially in Anglo-Saxon philosophy, have tried to bring the Kantian categorical imperative closer to such rule utilitarianism. Hare, for his part, attempts to reconcile his principle of universalization with these two forms of utilitarianism, the differences between which he considers to be minimal. Rather, following Singer’s interpretation, we will briefly suggest below that the generalisation rule does not itself qualify as utilitarian.

Is utilitarianism associated with the categorical imperative?

While utilitarianism is one of the main currents of thought in English-speaking philosophy, in France there is a strong hostility towards it and even an anti-utilitarian movement in the human sciences (MAUSS). So what are the strengths and weaknesses of a moral and social philosophy that has given rise to such opposing judgements?
Utilitarianism holds that individual and collective happiness is the only moral end worthy of the name. For John Stuart Mill, ‘happiness is the only end of human action, and the promotion of happiness is the touchstone by which human conduct is judged; from which it necessarily follows that happiness must be the criterion of morality’ (Utilitarianism, 1861).
Utilitarianism has two strengths. Firstly, it is a rational morality which holds that in order to judge the moral value of an action or decision, it is sufficient to assess whether it promotes individual, as well as collective, happiness in an impartial manner, ‘each counting equally’ (J. Bentham, Fragment on Government). It assumes no belief in God or metaphysical entities. It is rooted in human nature, in the fear of suffering and the search for pleasure that drive human behaviour. It even extends its scope to any living being that is sensitive to suffering.
Secondly, utilitarianism judges an action according to its objective consequences, not according to principles or beliefs.

Why was Kant against utilitarianism?

Whatever produces the most happiness in the most people is the moral course of action. Kant has an insightful objection to moral evaluations of this sort. The essence of the objection is that utilitarian theories actually devalue the individuals it is supposed to benefit.

What are some major differences between virtue ethics and utilitarianism Kantian ethics?

The main difference between virtue ethics utilitarianism is that virtue ethics focuses on the person carrying out an action, whereas utilitarianism focuses on the consequences of the action.

What is the difference between the theory of Kant and Bentham?

Kant focuses on the right thing to do even if the outcome causes unhappiness. This is where Bentham and Kant collide as Bentham does look into the consequences of an action, and uses the outcome of an action to determine its moral worth while Kant does not.

What is utilitarianism example?

When individuals are deciding what to do for themselves alone, they consider only their own utility. For example, if you are choosing ice cream for yourself, the utilitarian view is that you should choose the flavor that will give you the most pleasure.

Does Kant reject utilitarianism?

Kant’s theory would not have been utilitarian or consequentialist even if his practical recommendations coincided with utilitarian commands: Kant’s theory of value is essentially anti-utilitarian; there is no place for rational contradiction as the source of moral imperatives in utilitarianism; Kant would reject the …

What is a categorical imperative according to Kant?

Kant defines categorical imperatives as commands or moral laws all persons must follow, regardless of their desires or extenuating circumstances. As morals, these imperatives are binding on everyone.

What are Kant’s two categorical imperatives?

Kant’s categorical imperative continues to hold an important place in moral philosophy today, and his two most lasting contributions are the Formula of the Law of Nature and the Formula of the End in Itself.

What is the difference between utilitarianism and Kant?

The main difference between Kantianism and Utilitarianism is that Kantianism is a deontological moral theory whereas utilitarianism is a teleological moral theory.

What is Kantian ethics and utilitarianism?

Definition. Kantianism is a moral philosophy introduced by Immanuel Kant that emphasizes that morality of an action/decision is not determined by its consequences but by the motivation of the doer whereas Utilitarianism is a moral philosophy introduced by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, etc.

What is the difference between utilitarianism and Kant’s deontology?

In practical ethics, two arms of thoughts exist in decision-making: Utilitarian and deontological. In utilitarian ethics, outcomes justify the means or ways to achieve it, whereas in deontological ethics, duties/obligations are of prime importance (i.e., end/outcomes may not justify the means).

What is opposite of utilitarianism?

What is Deontology? Deontology is exactly the opposite of utilitarianism when it comes to the explanations of its concepts. Deontology does not believe in the concept of ‘the end justifies the means’. On the other hand, it says ‘the end does not justify the means.

What are the 4 ethical theories?

Four broad categories of ethical theory include deontology, utilitarianism, rights, and virtues.

What is Kantian thinking?

Kantian ethics refers to a deontological ethical theory developed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant that is based on the notion that: “It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will.” The theory was developed as …

Is Aristotle a utilitarian?

The criteria for being a utilitarian are not universally agreed; Mill called Aristotle a ‘judicious utilitarian,’ although Aristotle never used the term ‘utility’ but talked of eudaemonia; Hume used the term utility a good deal, but is not best understood as a utilitarian.

What is Kant main philosophy?

His moral philosophy is a philosophy of freedom. Without human freedom, thought Kant, moral appraisal and moral responsibility would be impossible. Kant believes that if a person could not act otherwise, then his or her act can have no moral worth.

How did Kant and Aristotle differ?

Aristotle’s approach is agent-centered in that it focuses on the development of the individual, which in turn, benefits society as a whole. Kant’s approach is duty-based, which means that there are certain duties that we have as human beings and these duties are absolutely binding for us.

What is the difference between Aristotle and Kant?

This follows from Kant’s insistence that an act is virtuous only if the moral agent is willing freely and universally. Secondly, Aristotle’s virtues modify behavior directly, whereas Kant’s virtues modify behavior indirectly by creating moral feeling which, in turn, represses the temptations of the natural inclination.

Is the golden rule the same as Kant’s categorical imperative or is it different?

The Golden Rule requires the existence and interaction with other persons, and people’s attitude to one another is an essential component of the principle, whereas the Categorical Imperative, on the other hand, has no such requirement. As Hirst (1934, p.

What type of ethics is utilitarianism?

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines right from wrong by focusing on outcomes. It is a form of consequentialism. Utilitarianism holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number.