On balance, John Stuart Mill's utilitarianism is superior to Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative
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R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro Rebuttal; Con Rebuttal
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“In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.”- John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
"Second among the crimina carnis contra naturam is intercourse sexus homogenii/ where the object of sexual inclination continues, indeed, to be human, but is changed since the sexual congress is not heterogeneous but homogeneous, i.e., when a woman satisfies her impulse on a woman, or a man on a man." "All crimina carnis contra naturam debase the human condition below that of the animal, and make man unworthy of his humanity; he then no longer deserves to be a person, and such conduct is the most ignoble and degraded that a man can engage in, with regard to the duties he has towards himself. Suicide is certainly the most dreadful thing that a man can do to himself, but is not so base and ignoble as these crimina carnis contra naturam which are the most contemptible acts a man can commit." - Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics
“Why then should tolerance, as far as the public sentiment is concerned, extend only to tastes and modes of life which extort acquiescence by the multitude of their adherents?” .- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
“To be truthful (honest) in all declarations, therefore, is a sacred and absolutely commanding decree of reason, limited by no expediency.” - Kant, The Supposed Right to Lie
“Yet even this rule [to not deviate from truth], sacred as it is, admits of possible exceptions, is acknowledged by all moralists; the chief of which is when the withholding of some fact … would preserve some one from great and unmerited evil, and when the withholding can only be effectedby denial.”- Mill, On Liberty
This same truth applies to moral systems, with Mill’s Utilitarianism being founded upon happiness, an emotion vulnerable to change. An action that causes happiness to a person can later make the same person sad, the same is true with an action that causes sadness later making the same person happy. Current suffering can lead to future gain, current bliss can lead to regret, or the opposite could be true, both suffering and bliss can be sustained long term. Mill states that a moral act should be “exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality” (“to the whole of sentient creation”). Happiness, both in quantity and quality, changes with time, so it is not possible to to base an action on the quantity and quality of happiness produced because the quantity and quality of happiness cannot be known.
- “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
- “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”
- “Thus the third practical principle follows [from the first two] as the ultimate condition of their harmony with practical reason: the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislating will.”
- “Act according to maxims of a universally legislating member of a merely possible kingdom of ends”
“the quantity and quality of happiness cannot be known.”
“Because of this unknown of happiness, Utilitarianism cannot be truly followed, thus it is not superior to the Categorical Imperative. “- Con, Round 1
"...mankind must by this time have acquired positive beliefs as to the effects of some actions on their happiness; and the beliefs which have thus come down are the rules of morality for the multitude, and for the philosopher until he has succeeded in finding better."-Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism (Kindle Locations 391-393). Kindle Edition.“In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.”- John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
- Hegel argued that charity towards the poor is not universalisable, as if everyone helped the poor, there would be no poor left to help, which would make charity towards the poor impossible and thereby according to Kant's CI immoral.
The rule that there should be no private property contains of itself no contradiction, nor does the proposition that this or that particular nation or family should not exist, or that no one should live at all. Only if it is really fixed and assumed that private property and human life should exist and be respected, is it a contradiction to commit theft or murder.- Georg Hegel, The Philosophy of Right (1820), Sect. 135 But when he [Kant] begins to deduce from this precept any of the actual duties of morality, he fails, almost grotesquely, to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur.- Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism (Kindle Locations 64-67). Kindle Edition.
- Furthermore, Hegel recognised that the universalisation of lying would entail a logical contradiction and that it is thus our duty to never lie according to the CI but Hegel also pointed out that murder would not entail a logical contradiction, merely what Kant referred to as a "contradiction of the will" which reduces down to an action (such as murder) contradicting our will (e.g. the desire to remain alive and to not have friends/family die). Mill also recognised this and pointed out that Kant's contradictions of the will, are not objective anymore but rather subjective (as they are dependent on the will of the people) and thereby, Mill argued, Kant had to appeal to utilitarianism to explain why certain actions (e.g. murder) are wrong. The actions that the CI alone can explain to be wrong, such as lying which Kant argues to always be wrong, however pose other problems (e.g. Anne Frank example in round 1). Kant's presumption that the CI is entirely objective is a limitation of the CI, as it means that it can not evolve, reform and adapt to progressive values. Mill, for example, was one of the first influential philosophers to argue, based on his utilitarianism, for progressive values such as the right of women to vote, perfect equality [of opportunity] between the sexes, animal rights, the right of thought an expression, etc., while Kant maintained that women are not fit for serious employment , are inferior in reason to men  and act virtuously, not because they recognise the morality of their actions but merely because moral actions seem more beautiful to them .
"These two measurements of morality, that what is moral should be defined by what produces happiness and one should act based on what is expected to produce happiness is contradictory when what expected to cause happiness causes unhappiness."-Con, round 2
“actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.”-The quote that Con claims supports his understanding of Mill's utilitarianism.