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Letter of Reflection

Essay by   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  297 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,906 Views

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Throughout this course, we have learned about many great philosophers with several different views of ethical theory. Ethical theory is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue. This was the foundation of all other concepts that John Stuart Mills and Immanuel Kant developed. These philosophers had dissimilar concepts and ideas of ethical theory. They each have strong ideas and provide beneficial arguments that support their claims. Mills was a strong enforcer of the idea of Utilitarianism, which is based on the belief that all human beings desire happiness. "Utilitarianism commands us to aim for the greatest happiness of the greatest number" (Wolff 477). Kant's theory, on the other hand, is based on Categorical Imperative and Rationality. He feels that that rationality is the ultimate idea that pulls us all together and defines us as human. Categorical Imperative simply states that we should not base our intentions on the outcome that the intentions will bring. As long as our intentions are good, the rest is out of our control. Each of these theories entails how we as individuals should act and live our life to achieve the most success and accomplishment out of it. In what follows, I will explain and analyze further on each philosopher's theories and arguments, providing the strengths and weaknesses of each as well. Mill's theory of Utilitarianism is very simple; everyone should aspire to be happy. That's it. He explains his argument in three steps: Happiness is the main goal in life, maximizing happiness is achieved by creating the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people, and we should judge an action in virtue of it's consequences.

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