Mill says that the spirit of utilitarianism is perfectly aligned with the Golden Rule—the notion the we should only “do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Kant’s Categorical Imperative, the requirement that we act only in a way that we would wish everyone would act as a matter of principle, has also been compared with the Golden Rule. In a 4-5 page essay, assess and analyze the ways these two very different ethical theories can be considered iterations of the Golden Rule. After explaining the relationship of each theory to the Golden Rule, address the following questions: in spite of their similarities to this common root, what accounts for the vast differences between Kant and Mill’s ethics? What conceptions of human nature are operative in each? Finally, draw from your own experience to argue for which of these ethical theories is most usable and beneficial in a real-life context.
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