In the ethical theories of Kant and Aristotle,

| December 9, 2015

In the ethical theories of Kant and Aristotle, it is arguably the case that the good person exercises control over the moral worth of her actions.

In Aristotle, the accomplishment of virtue is, broadly, the product of the kind of person one has cultivated oneself to be. In Kant, insofar as one is a rational being, one can determine freely, for oneself, whether one is acting from duty (putting aside the fact that one can never have certainty about the purity of acting from moral duty). In contrast, Mill’s theory appears to place moral value entirely in the resulting happiness produced by the action. A person thus does not have control over her moral goodness. Does Mill’s ethical theory suffer from requiring that a person not be totally in control over the moral value of her actions? Is this a problem for utilitarianism as a theory, compared to Deontology or Virtue Ethics? (In your answer, you should make brief – i.e. 1-2 paragraph apiece at the most – reference to the relevant material from Kant and Aristotle).

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