Utilitarian and vs Satrean Ethics Unit essay


Utilitarianand vs Satrean Ethics


The Jean-Paul Sartre case scenario presents a very interestingargument that no one singe ethical theory is capable of providing asolution to all of life’s moral problems. In such a dilemma,utilitarian ethics would call for the young man to make a decisionthat benefits the majority of the people affected by his decision.The utilitarian moral approach supports the concept that the endjustifies the means. This is to say that the morality of an action isdetermined by the outcome it produces rather than the action itself(Eggleston &amp Miller 2014). In the young mans’ dilemma discussedby Satre, the young man was torn between loyalty to his family ornation. Satre thus argued the situation could not be impeccablyaddressed by any ethical theory as either option would be injuriousand beneficial to different parties simultaneously.

A Kantian approach to the same issue results to a differentconclusion. Kantian ethics assesses the morality of an action basedon the categorical imperative or rather the adherence to certainprinciples or maxim (Utilitarianism, Kantian ethics n.d.). Kantargued that an action is morally right if the key motive is adheringto a given principle or fulfilling a duty, which requires firstidentifying man as an autonomous being free from external influencesin perceiving right or wrong (Korsgaard 2015). Thus, the sense ofduty is the most important concept that determines the rightness orwrongness of an action. In the current scenario, the young man wasconscripted into the military and as such, he has a duty to fulfillhis duty and obligation as a soldier to defend his country. However,before committing to the duty of a soldier, the young man had anailing mother to take care of. The existentialism belief proposed bySatre argues that no moral authority can be imposed on individualsfrom outside (Graham 2011). Thus the decision to join the army orstay behind and take of the mum is thus solely upon the young mandepending on where his loyalty is greatest.

Thus, I disagree with Satre that the young man’s dilemma cannot beargued from an ethical point of view. The young man has the right tofollow his own principles he has imposed on himself and live tofulfill the duty to that principle without the outcome of hisdecision being used to judge the action. In this regard, according toKantian views, the young had an ethical obligation to fulfill bydoing what he believed in family or nation.


Eggleston, B. &ampMiller, D. (2014). The Cambridge companion to utilitarianism.Cambridge:

CambridgeUniversity Press.

Graham, G., (2011). Theories of ethics: an introduction to moralphilosophy with a selection of

classicreadings. New York: Routledge.

Korsgaard, C.(2015). From Duty and for the sake of the noble: Kant and Aristotleon morally

good action. InBernhard, W. (ed). Philosophers in Depth pp 33-68.

Utilitarianism,Kantian ethics, natural rights theories, and religious ethics(n.d.). New Mexico

State University. Retrieved from,http://web.nmsu.edu/~dscoccia/321web/321ethicstheory.pdf