What is the difference between utilitarianism and Kantian ethics or some other major ethical view?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    heh, we just studied this. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism - the belief that consequences are the most important factor in determining whether an action is good/beneficial. basically, the worth of any act lies in its consequences - if the consequences are good, the act is good. that's the principle of utility. if I feed a hungry child, even if my reasons are manipulative and selfish, the act is good.

    Kantian ethics try to separate consequences from actions - Kant believes that actions have an intrinsic value (is good in and of itself). This becomes tricky to prove, and many people feel he doesn't do the best job (myself among them). his form of ethics is rule-based, whereas consequentialism (and utilitarianism) is case-based.

    Virtue ethics is another major ethical theory, and an alternative/opponent to the two above. consequences are again denounced (to a certain extent), and goodness is determined by the extent to which certain, pre-defined Virtues are fulfilled. so, honor, justice, etc. Aristotle came up with this theory, in its most basic form, btw. anyway, motive is important here. if i feed a hungry child, but do it for selfish reasons, i am not fulfilling a Virtue in its purest form, so that act isn't good.

    all of this is more complicated than i'm making it here, but....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantianism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_ethics

    ...might help some more.

  • -.-
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I don't see any difference.

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