Explain the Moral Approaches of Kent, Mill, Aristotle, and Held

Explainthe Moral Approaches of Kent, Mill, Aristotle, and Held

Theissue of morality is an important aspect when it comes to resolvingethical dilemmas that affect entities. Different moral approacheshave been developed by Kant, Mill, Aristotle, and Held among othertheorists. The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the moralapproaches as presented by Kant, Mill, Aristotle, and Held. The paperwill argue that the moral approach by Kant is the best in resolvingethical problems or dilemmas.

MoralApproach of Kant

ImmanuelKant claimed that the moral requirements are usually based on arationality standard, which he called the categorical imperative.According to Kant, immorality entails a violation of the categoricalimperative and is considered irrational. According to this approachof morality, rational agents have to conform to instrumentalprinciples (Cahn 83). This approach considers a rational spirit asbeing autonomous. Furthermore, this approach of morality requires aperson to be self-governing in making ethical decisions. Kant’sapproach makes individuals view others as equally deserving respectwhen confronted with an ethical dilemma.

MoralApproach of Mill

Thisapproach of morality applies the principle of utility. According tothe utility principle, an action is considered to be allowed in casethe outcomes of that act are at least as good as those of any otheravailable action to an agent. In this approach, an action may tend tohave good outcomes to an agent, but may not be allowable because ofthe existence of other alternative actions that may be considered tohave better outcomes (Cahn 88). Mills approach of morality takes intoconsideration the happiness as well as the unhappiness of individualsfrom an action. Mills defines happiness as the pleasure experiencedand the absence of pain. In his approach, it is the derivation ofhappiness that is relevant for utilitarianism.

MoralApproach of Aristotle

Thisapproach of morality focuses on the virtues which make living good.Here, Aristotle fails to explain wrong or right in terms of rules,but puts an emphasis on the personal qualities which make a personvirtuous, and thus able to act well in different situations, each ofwhich tends to be unique. Therefore, in this approach of morality,personal qualities are considered as important, but not the law inresolving ethical dilemmas (Cahn 113). From Aristotle’s point ofview, virtue is a means between extremes, which imply that virtue mayfall on either excess or deficiency.

MoralApproach of Held

Held’sapproach of morality focuses on the use of relational aspects inmaking decisions. Held’s ethics of care approach in the making ofethical decisions originates from feminists’ appreciation of thesignificance of care (Gluchman 26). This approach of morality isconsidered to be based on an experience that is universal beingcared for. The primary focus of this approach is the compelling moralsalience of meeting and attending to the needs of those individualsthat are close (Cahn 156). The ethics of care tend to value emotionshowever, not all emotions are valued. The emotions that are valuedconstitute the positive emotions. In the ethics of care approach, arelationship amid two or more parties has to exist, and therelationship must have the potential of growing into a mutuallycaring association so as the obligation of care can apply.

Allthe four approaches have a similarity in that they work towardsdefending the notion of human dignity. Although the four approacheshave differences, they all focus on constructing a manner in whichthe well-being of individuals is encouraged. The Kant’s approachand Mill’s approach are similar since the central question isoriented on the action. Also, all the approaches tend to converge onvirtues that yield positive rewards to a person. Furthermore, in allthe four approaches will and reason are important personal identities(Gluchman 86). A difference in the approaches is that theirrationality is different. Mill’s approach focuses on getting what aperson wants while the Kant’s approach focuses on what reasonrequires. Alternatively, Aristotle’s approach stresses on havingthe desires that reason determines are the best. On the other hand,Held’s approach focuses on the relationship amid individuals.

Thecategorical imperative is likely to be helpful in solving ethicalproblems or dilemmas because every rational individual is likely tofollow rules that have been put in place in realizing a givenobjective. It is individuals who decide upon the rules that they aregoing to follow in order to realize a certain goal this being thecase, it would be easy for these individuals to follow these rules inresolving the problems that affect them. Thus, in resolving ethicaldilemmas, people will be willing to use the rules that they havedeveloped, which would make it easy to handle ethical problems(Gluchman 58). Also, categorical imperative would be better placed inresolving ethical dilemmas because people would be willing to followwhat is right under their own free will without being forced to doso. When making laws, people would be rational in indicating whatthey would be willing to follow and what is right. This implies thatbecause of the free will to do what is right this approach would behelpful in resolving ethical problems.

Someindividuals may differ with the approach that I take since Millargues that the examination of motives is usually appropriate foragent evaluation rather than act evaluation. In responding to this, Iwould indicate that consequences need not be used in the evaluationof actions since there is inadequate control over consequences, andthe moral obligations extend to people’s abilities. Anotherobjection that can be received for considering this approach is thatit is difficult to generalize laws that would universally controlthings. I would respond to this by indicating that what is importantis the moral rule, but not putting universal rules for everything.Besides, another objection that I may face is that the approachresults in “rule worship” since individuals may blindly follow arule. In this case, I would respond that it would be better to followa rule and fulfill the duty of doing something that would not hurtanother person.

Theethical dilemma I presented concerns the issue of childrentrafficking. Trafficking of children can result in various problemssuch as the subjection of children to hard labor and even loss ofchildren from their parents. In case everyone was to considertrafficking of children as a business, there would be an increase inthe number of children that are exposed to hard labor as well as anincrease in the number of children that would be disconnected fromtheir parents. Thus, applying such a universal rule that allowstrafficking would be unreasonable, which makes the business ofchildren trafficking immoral. Therefore, a universal law can bedeveloped in this case to guard against the trafficking oftrafficking of children.


Thereare different moral approaches. According to Kant, immorality entailsa violation of the categorical imperative and is consideredirrational. According to this approach of morality, rational agentshave to conform to instrumental principles. Mills approach ofmorality takes into consideration the happiness as well as theunhappiness of individuals from an action. Alternatively, Aristotle’sapproach fails to explain wrong or right in terms of rules but putsan emphasis on the personal qualities which make a person virtuous.The primary focus of the ethics of care approach is the compellingmoral salience of meeting and attending to the needs of thoseindividuals that are close. The moral approach by Kant is the best inresolving ethical problems or dilemmas. This is because everyrational individual is likely to follow rules that have been put inplace in realizing a given objective. It is individuals who decideupon the rules that they are going to follow in order to realize acertain goal this being the case, it would be easy for theseindividuals to follow these rules in resolving the problems thataffect them.


Cahn,Steven M. ExploringEthics: An Introductory Anthology., 2014. Print.

Gluchman,Vasil. Morality:Reasoning on Different Approaches.Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013. Print.