Morality and happiness have always been the bone of contention among philosophers. It is quite evident that the academia of philosophy has been overwhelmingly dominated by the interconnection of these two subjects. Morality and happiness bear great significance as happiness is the ultimate goal of humanity and morality are the code according to which a society functions. It is important to note that morality bears a significant connection to happiness as philosophers argue that the pursuit of happiness should not come in contradiction with a pre determined moral code to which a person or society prescribes. This paper discusses reflection on morality and happiness by Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill in the context of early philosophers.
Immanuel Kant lays the foundation of morality upon intention, on the other hand, John Stuart Mill places morality upon action. According to Mill, a person should make the choices in life that will optimize his/her satisfaction and pleasure. Rorty and Hobbes suggest that each decision in life has the potential to offer the same amount of pleasure and it does not matter which path one decides to choose. However, Hobbes argues that the process of choice ought to be rational. Rousseau states that judgment ought to be aligned with the social preferences as backlash from society over a choice will ruin the joy of a person.
Immanuel Kant states that intention defines the morality of an action. For a human being, it is not possible to have honest intention as every person is a slave to his/her natural instincts. Hence, any act performed with the intent of self-interest is immoral. John Stuart Mill prescribes to the theory that action defines morality. If in the end, an action increases the total sum of happiness in the world, the action is deemed moral. Aristotle and St Thomas are in contradiction with Mill as they think of happiness as achieving excellence in morality while Mill does not think of morality as an end in itself but just a part of happiness.
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