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In Depth Comparison Between the Philosophies of Utilitarianism and Kantianism (Research Paper Sample)


This paper should explain and thoroughly define the differences between Utilitarianism and Kantism.
In addition, this research paper should provide the strong points as well as criticisms of each theory and can mention readily answered questions provided by the arguments and evidentiary support (i.e. examples, resource quotes, etc.).


Utilitarianism and Kantianism
Utilitarianism and Kantianism
The Kantian and the utilitarian philosophical theories are obviously some of the most theoretical perspectives in modern society. Despite the passage of time, the two theories have remained relevant and are highly referred today by both students and scholars alike. The two theories have been used in the formulation of strategies to guide the society both in the developed and in the developing nations. These two theories present fundamentally opposite moral theories. On one hand, the Kantianism theory stresses the intentions behind human actions while the utilitarianism theory emphasizes on the consequences for an individual’s actions. In addition, the Kantianism theory seeks for the moral actions in duty for its own account while the utilitarianism dwells on the maximization of individual happiness. This paper compares and contrasts the Kantianism and utilitarianism theories and presents the major critiques of the two theories.
Despite the foundational variations between them, the Kant and Utilitarian theories have one thing in common and that is they all seek to promote the golden rule of doing to others as would want them to do to you. The proposal by Kant that the essentials of morality be made universal so that they can apply to all situations and that in all our undertakings we respect the other individual as an “end in itself” and never to see them as merely a means to achieving our desires and the utilitarianism focus on the interests and happiness of the large number of people clearly seem to abide by the components of the golden rule. Kantianism and utilitarianism are usually exhibited as trying to right certain challenges that are brought about by the haziness of the golden rule since the rule does not clearly state what people are supposed to do. The two philosophies also offer rephrasing of the golden rule in presumably more ideal ways (Boehm, 2009).
Kant’s ethical philosophy is founded on the belief that moral action must be founded in the respect for duty for its own sake. This implies that it is good intentions that count and not the effects of the action. Kant indicates that to value an action on the basis of its costs would be trivializing morality since in most cases the consequences are out of the way. An example of this philosophy is joining in a war in the belief that it will free them from oppression while in the same case it ends up hurting them as such a war swaps an oppressive regime with a inferior one. In addition to this, the notion of ‘duty for its sake’ as proposed by Kant indicates that moral action must endeavor to eradicate any influence from our desires, actions and emotions since human beings have very little control over them. Approaching morality in any other way according to Kant removes the element of responsibility and as such the idea of moral commands would be of no meaning. This is the principle that Kant uses to reject the theory of Utilitarianism which focuses on consequences and is founded on perceptions of pleasure and pain (Boehm, 2009).
According to Kant, every human being should endeavor to act according to the set of given guidelines that can be translated into universal laws. This means that stealing, killing, and lying should be avoided since they cannot be termed as universal laws. If anyone practices these things, they would be going against the golden rule since it is impossible for someone to lie or steal from themselves. The Kantian rule also insists on respecting other people as “ends in themselves’ and not as a means to an end. This respect for other individuals as proposed by Kant brought about the inception of rules that could help the society to respect the rights of the oth...
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