Bentham Jeremy and Immanuel Kant

Bentham was a philosopher who lived in the 18th Immanuel Kant, and Jeremy came up with two contrasting theoretical theories to describe the essence of morality. According to Bentham, the moral rightness of an action is determined by its outcome, whereas Kant’s thesis explores the moral character of an effort regardless of its consequences. Bentham argued that acts should be judged based on their outcomes. He concluded that for an action to be considered just, it must result in the most significant amount of satisfaction and the least amount of suffering for the most important number of people, whether directly or indirectly affected. In this case, utility refers to an object that prevents pain or provides value, enjoyment, or useful to a person or persons of interest. Therefore, the understanding of utilitarianism is founded on consequences of actions. Bentham theory is guided by three major principles namely the happiness principle, universal egoism and artificial identification of a person’s interests against others.
On the other hand, Kant believes that obligations and rules should control our actions. He suggests that consequences may be beyond human control. He firmly holds to the opinion that an act can either be judged as just or unjust regardless of the outcome of those actions. Goodwill is the main idea behind Kant’s theory. Kant’s theory is guided by the fundamental principle known as Categorical Imperative. Kant’s is remembered for his famous statement that one should only act by that maxim that he or she can will that it should become a universal law. In an example, where 20 patients are in a critical state in need of blood transfusion of blood type A. At the same, the doctor realizes that a client who is on routine checkup is healthy and has blood type A. At this point Kant and Bentham would handle the situation differently. The doctor can choose to save the dying patients by killing the healthy patient or let the individual life and allow the 20 patients to die. For Bentham, he would assess the outcome of each action considering how much happiness or pain both action will cause. On the other hand, Kant would gauge whether the action is right or wrong. Since Bentham does not account for intended action, then the killing the healthy client would be justified. Jeremy Bentham believes that maximizing the utility of the dying patients by killing the ten patients is justified it produces the greatest pleasure. Kant believes that people should act in a manner the respects the principles of humanity always, in respect to others and at the same time as an end and not a means. Kantian theory suggests that an action can never be justified as right or wrong based on the outcome even in a situation where the action brings utmost pleasure. Thus, killing the healthy individual would immoral. Killing one person to save 20 other patients violates the rights of humanity, and therefore, Kant’s theory can be considered intuitively right.
In the case of the Rwanda genocide where the Hutus killed the Tutsi, if a Hutu decided to hide a family from the Tutsi minority group in his house, then Hutu’s would come looking for the Tutsi’s in the Hutu’s house. The Hutu is faced with two options. He could probably lie and save the Tutsi family or tell the truth and put the lives of the Tutsi’s at risk as well as his life at risk. However, Kant believes that lying is wrong even though it jeopardizes the Tutsi’s lives. In this case, Bentham’s theory would be intuitively right, as honesty will cause harm to he Tutsi family.
However, both Kant’s theory and Bentham’s theory have flaws. Kantian approach entirely neglects the consequences of a moral action since the argument does not explain what happens if one is faced with more than one obligation to fulfill. Similarly, Bentham’s happiness principle theory justifies pain or harm to others. Utilitarianism justifies slavery, rape, murder, and bullying. In my opinion, before deciding if an action is right or wrong, we should first determine the scope of our dilemma, deliberate on the benefits and drawbacks and thus apply the theory we deem appropriate.
Essay 2
In the case study, the decision to kill one person to save five patients would be handled differently by both Kant and Bentham. Kant believes that the value of human lives can never have a price tag. He thought that other things gain value from human beings while people have a natural desire to meet their goals. Kant posited that human beings have intrinsic worth. Human carries dignity and can make their own decisions and guide their actions with reason. Likewise, Kant believes that the only way moral goodness can exist is if human beings act rationally by apprehending what they ought to do and acting with a sense of obligation and responsibility. Thus, this is the only thing that brings moral value. According to this explanation, the worth of human beings is absolute and not comparable to anything else in the world (Bacin 267).
Therefore, the value is beyond price. Human beings must be treated as an end and not as a means. Kant’s idea has more profound implication on the case study above. First, cutting up a person into pieces is bizarre, inhumane, and barbaric. Secondly, Kant’s explanation on the rationality of human beings suggests that if we treat human beings as an end, we must respect their rationality. Moreover, one should never manipulate others or use people to attain our goals or objectives no matter how good those intentions may be. Hence, Kant believes killing one individual is morally wrong, and the act does not respect humanity (Bacin 268). Kant believes that when we decide to do any action towards a person, we show that we wish our conduct be made a universal law. In this case study, Kant theory is automatically right. It is so since if the act were morally correct, there would be no reason to hide the body parts without being caught.
However, Bentham believes otherwise. Bentham, in this case, would consider the act that maximizes utility. For Jeremy Bentham, the outcome of an action is the standard that justifies an actor wrong. He believed that the principle of utility influences moral decisions and is based on the net happiness (Freiman 251). To Bentham, pain and pleasure have a fundamental role in human life. Bentham equates pleasure with good and evil with pain. Moreover, he asserts that pain and happiness are measurable. Thus, in this case, Bentham believes that killing the individual to save the five lives would cause ultimate pleasure and least pain (Maximization of utility). It is so since, Jeremy Bentham approves or disapproves an action measuring the amount of pain, or happiness the act will cause to the most significant number of people. Nonetheless, even the theory justifies such an act. It is an unfair act and violates the rights of humanity. If the action were just, there would be no need to hide the body parts. The theory ignores the interests of the minority. The majority gain happiness at the expense of a mistreated individual. Therefore, Kant’s theory is more appealing as compared to Bentham’s theory. His theory upholds and respects humanity by introducing an absolute moral principle.

Works Cited
Bacin, Stefano. “Kant’S Idea Of Human Dignity: Between Tradition And Originality.” Journal of Philosophy, vol 106, no. 1, 2015, Walter De Gruyter Gmbh, doi:10.1515/kant-2015-0008.
Freiman, Christopher. “Utilitarianism And Public Justification.” Journal Of Social Philosophy, vol 44, no. 3, 2013, pp. 250-269. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/josp.12033.

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