MorAndJus2 - Morality and Justice Paper 2 Topic 2 Recent...

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Morality and Justice Paper 2: Topic 2 4/18/05 Recent discussions in class have led us to comparing two theories which attempt to come up with an ultimate standard of moral right and wrong. John Stuart Mill’s theory of utilitarianism is formed around The Principle of Utility. That is, “actions are right insofar as they promote happiness or wrong if they produce unhappiness.” This “happiness” is measured in terms of pleasure, which Mill claims is the only thing that is good in itself. Anything else is said to have solely instrumental value at most, and only that when it helps to produce pleasure. The Principle of Utility emphasizes the maximization of overall intrinsic value, which requires weighing each pleasure individually because some pleasures (Higher Pleasures) have more value than others (Lower Pleasures). We also discussed Kant’s idea of the Categorical Imperative. Part II of Kant’s Categorical Imperative, The Formula of the End in Itself, concludes that people should “act in such a way that you always treat persons as ends-in-themselves, and never merely as means to your own (subjective) ends.” Kant says that if there is to be any such thing as moral law, it must be based on the fact that persons are objective ends. An objective end can be described as not an end of action but something that exist and is valuable in its own right that is independent of desires. To evaluate these two theories, I will look at the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. This will bring out the very contradicting views each has on an ultimate standard of moral right and wrong.
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