Comparing Kantianism And Utilitarianism

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In “A Simplified Account of Kantian Ethics”, author Onora O’Neill makes the claim that Kantianism and Utilitarianism have 2 distinct views on human life and the way it’s value should guide an individual’s morals. She firstly focuses on explaining the Utilitarian perspective on individual purpose and life value, rather dramatically calling it a task “not for the faint-hearted” (O’Neill, 4). Fundamentally, utilitarianism upholds a standard of maximizing utility, meaning that no one individual’s happiness is to be ranked above the greater good in importance. She describes Utilitarianism as “dauntingly long, indeed interminable,” (O’Neill, 4) which I personally think is true of any moral theory, Kantianism included, but more so for Utilitarianism because of its requirement of self-sacrifice.…show more content…
In fact, this is where it derives the ‘mere means’ component of the theory: all beings capable of rationality are valued based on that quality, and considering that things of higher value typically aren’t traded for things of lesser value, no being with that quality ought to be treated as though they are with lesser or without value. Because of this lack of preference to an individual, I find that these two theories seem quite similar. Utilitarianism is distinct though in its reasoning for human worth. Unlike Kantianism, people are not valued in a way that prevents them from being means, but valued as means. As O’Neill accounted, human “Moral status derives from their means to the production of happiness,” (O’Neill, 5). She goes on further to say “Utilitarian moral theory has then a rather paradoxical view… it is not their being alive but the state of their consciousness that is of value,” (O’Neill,

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