Immanuel Kant and Emotions Essay

Submitted By benitobandito3
Words: 963
Pages: 4

Benny Cisneros
Professor Bilbeny
PHIL 100
Compare and Contrast: Kant and Mill Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher born in 1724 and died in 1804. His philosophical writings influenced people, not only in Europe but throughout the world. His writings were such that they brought a new dimension in religion, law and history. His view of morals is that our desires and emotions are categorically imperative, meaning that they are consciously driven. His philosophy is closely related to the golden rule which states that one should always act in accordance to the path that will give him or her the best outcome. The categorical imperative rule of Kant seems to suggest that actions must be universal for them to be classified as either moral or immoral. John Stuart Mill on the other hand was a British philosopher born in 1806 and died in 1873. Among his many developments is the utilitarianism theory that explains morality. Mill argues that the moral worth of an action is determined by its utility (pleasure or satisfaction derived from the action). Mill seems to suggest that our emotions and desires form a great basis on which we should judge our morals. For example, if telling lies to another person will ensure that the desire to live in harmony with other people is fulfilled, the act of lying will be considered moral, guided by that desire. On the other hand, Kant’s argument in metaphysics of morals, would view this as a lack of standards because it compromises the true value of lies, which in his view should be seen as immoral, whether there is gratification derived from it or not. This view forms the basis of the contrasting argument between him and Kant. According to Kant, desires and emotions are insignificant in our choice to uphold or reject morality. He argues that morality is a matter of sense of duty, regardless of what one feels at the time they are called to that duty. Kant states that there is nothing that can be considered to be good, apart from good will, which he says is the moral compass that is always on the lookout for good. He says that actions guided by morality are not out to seek rewards, but to fulfill a duty, whether there is gratification and pleasure or not, whether our desires are met and our emotions soothed or not. In his view, morals are superior to emotions and desires. His theory is more of a virtuous and ethical approach based on character. Mill, on the other hand, strongly feels that the happiness and pleasure derived from the consequences of an action should always be the guiding factor in doing something. For example, in the pursuit of happiness, if the result of an action is that it leaves the biggest number of people gratified and happy then the action does not really matter, the bottom line is that it brought happiness and harmony. In his view, desires are superior to morals. Thus, according to Mill, morals are relative, and are based on one’s emotions and desires and the utility derived from the action. Mill, according to his theoretical ideas, seems to suggest that desires and emotions should be placed above reason. His theory hence seems to suggest that people should not be held responsible for their actions, but their emotions should. Emotions and reason do not co-exist, hence, since actions are guided by emotions, people should not be held responsible for their emotions because more often than not, people act out of emotion, more than out of reason. One of the similarities between the two philosophers is that they both seem to agree that morality is always stimulated by something, it does not just happen by itself. What they feel is the driving force behind morality is