Introduction to ethics essay

1) Mill theory of utilitarianism says that to live life to its fullest is through deriving pleasure. Everything human beings do in life is for the sake of attaining pleasure. The objection to this theory is that this life is fit for only swine not for human beings who have morals. It derails morality of human beings. Mill justifies his theory against swine’s objection by differentiating between qualitatively higher and lower pleasures. He says that qualitative lower pleasures are experiences, states of mind and or body and in modes of existence. The ultimate end of human desires is pleasure.

He says that what pigs’ desire is not what human beings desire. Mill poses quation “not all pleasure is sensual bodily pleasure nor is it simply the satisfaction which results from the fulfillment of specific bodily need and urges which the pig and the human beings have in common. Human beings want dignity; is dignity a pleasure? Or is it pleasant? Does one experience pleasure as a result of having it? ” 2) Kant’s Theory of self rule by reason talks about the autonomous action of human beings where an action in any given station is determined by the supreme principle which is independent of desire.

It underscores that, the main motivation to an action is the end of an action and not the means to an end of action. “The end justifies the means”. The actions should be universally accepted and that human beings are intrinsically valuable and hence their actions should be ethically and morally justifiable. The principle drive in Kant’s theory is “act so that you treat humanity whether in your own or in that of another as an end and never as a means only” (Immanuel Kant. , (1993). For example according to Kant, killing is wrong since universally it is not accepted and it also denatured human worth.

Mill says that human actions are driven by desire for pleasure (John Stuart Mill. (1863). This emphasizes on the means of an action but not the end of that action. In this theory, an action is morally right as long as it produces greatest utility without consideration of the ethical nature of the action for example according to mill killing could be right if it produces happiness to the person killing. The theory does not emphasis on the universality of human behavior and operates on the reason that “The means will justify the end”.

Kant’s theory is more plausible because it both considers the moral and ethics of human behavior and also emphasizes on autonomy of behaviors, motivation and duties where mill’s theory is majorly centered on satisfaction of individuals intrinsic desires. 3) Dutch fishermen smuggled Jewish refugees to England during World War II and when stopped by German patrol boats they were torn apart between telling the truth and lying in order to protect the Jewish from being executed (James Rachels. , 2002).

Kant emphasizes on the human worth or the intrinsic value of humans as opposed to the actions that would dehumanize a persons worth and also the end to an action(saving a life) not the means and hence this theory permitted the Dutch fishermen to lie in order to save the human lives. Mill according to the theory of utilitarianism would permit the Dutch fishermen to lie because it emphasizes on the means of this action and believed that they should be able to derive happiness in their action and therefore by lying they would be able to smuggle many refugees to England for their own reasons.

The ethics of care, answer this question in a different perspective since the theory believes that human are related and should act in a caring manner to one another. The Dutch fishermen could buy this idea and believe that the German would behave in a caring manner to the Jewish and so the fishermen would not lie but tell the German the truth about who they carried in their boats and their destination.

Double effect theory operates on four conditions principles to meet: first, the action contemplated by in itself either morally good or morally indifferent; second, that the bad result not be directly intended; third, that the good result not be a direct causal result of the bad result and fourth the good result be proportional to the bad result. In such a situation of the fishermen where all these conditions were met and hence lying is permissible despite the bad result in order to save life.

Pluralists believe that moral life is a truthful life and hence the fishermen would be morally upright by saying the truth about the refugees that they carried in their boats, despite the end result of them being executed. My own view on this situation is that we can as well lie to save life so as we may not dehumanize people’s lives even though it may not be morally right but for the sake of saving lives we may be required to do so. 5) Care theory suggests that natural care is more important than ethical care due to human receptivity, relatedness and responsiveness. It argues that natural care comes before ethical care.

Human beings are related and hence in their behavior they care for one another rather than being driven by the moral and ethical needs. “It is our longing for caring to be in a special relationship that provides the motivation for us to be moral”. We want to be moral in order to remain in caring relation. Care ethics reverses Kantian priorities that is; care theory is instrumental in establishing or restoring the Kant theory. Care theory indicates that there is reciprocity because of the relation in human behaviors and such shows the universality or autonomy in human actions and duties.

Kant’s theory has more sense than care theory since care ethics gives a feminist view in human ethics such that we would only act in a caring situation without taking into account the end of that action or situation. Kant gives a wide human approach to ethics than the care ethics (Immanuel Kant. , (1993).

Reference: James Rachels. , (2002). The Elements of Moral Philosophy. New York. McGraw-Hill John Stuart Mill. (1863). Utilitarianism: Available online at: http://www. utilitarianism. com/mill1. htm. Accessed on 2. 08. 07 Immanuel Kant. , (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. Hackett Publishing Company.