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The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity

Kant has described various aspects of humanity that define their moral standing and capability. There are various forms of moral standing which mainly depend on what the person feels is right to do and that he has the ability. There are many right things that can be done, yet people are hindered from such accomplishments simply because they do not have the ability to perform their duties and responsibilities. There is also another category of people who engage in desirable activities simply because they are obliged by their experiences. It could be because of the benefits that come performing the responsibility. For instance, a teacher who is employed to impart knowledge on the students is obliged to give them the best education simply because of the benefit of salary that comes with it. Kant does it well knowing that failure to produce good results may make him loose his job. The teacher may also do so considering that he is knowledgeable and also trained to do so. Even though somebody else may feel the need of offering teaching services to a student, they may not be able to do so due to their lack of experience.

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According to Kant’s formula humanity should be treated in a way that will not only have a short term gain but a long one. This basically means that people ought to treat others just the same way that they would wish to be treated, not only as an obligation but also as a duty. For something to be morally human, it needs to satisfy the person doing it. There is much pleasure that a person gains from being involved in something they love rather than simply as an obligation. People are endowed with different responsibilities in society that bring them satisfaction and happiness. The satisfaction that one gains from performing such a responsibility is long term and they will always feel happy about doing it. Performing a responsibility with such an attitude not only makes the person to provide the best services, but also brings comfort to the person that is being serviced. When a person does something simply out of duty, it means they are not really paying attention to the results. It may hence not matter to them whether they are achieving something out of it or not.

In fulfilling the humanity question, Kant insists on the importance of human beings setting goals and being determined enough to fulfill them. This is the main thing that will act as a motivation factor and make them achieve something out of their actions. Setting goals makes an individual to understand where they want to go and hence strategizing on how to get there. It also makes them to be focused on one thing and hence avoiding any kind of distraction that may come their way. There is however a need to put in some efforts that will ensure that the end results are fruitful. Goals are usually set out of ones desire to fulfill and accomplish a certain task. There is hence a certain kind of value that the individual will attach to every detail of accomplishing it. The difference between a person that has an ambition to accomplish a certain thing and that one that pays no attention to it is the value they have towards it. All this can be observed through their actions and determination. Kant hence feels that to be morally human is to follow the desires of your heart. There is first a desire that will make one to set targets which will be followed by a determination to fulfill them.

Some of the most important differences between Mill’s utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theory

Mill and Kant have varying reasoning concerning the motivation behind human behavior. They both believe that a human being should engage or will engage in certain actions when there is a certain force behind them. According to Kant, there is the issue of moral theory and to Mill; there is the principle of utility. Kant believes that for any action that has to be done by an individual, there should be a moral motivation that is attached to it. Morality to Kant means that it should be something that is acceptable and beneficial to the society. This should also be an action that a person has the ability of performing and they have generally thought over it. He believes that one engages in something that they have desired to. By desiring to accomplish a certain course, it makes the person to make the necessary preparations that will enable them fulfill it. The ability of the person to succeed in pursuing their dreams however, depends on their level of commitment and their hard work. In proving how desirable a certain course is to an individual, Kant says that it is the value that they attach to it. When a course is not valuable, then a person will tend to slow down in his or her efforts of accomplishing it.

Mill, in his principle of utilitarianism, insists on the necessity of doing something that will bring happiness to not only the person doing it but also the society in general. The motivation behind human actions according to Mill is the pleasure that they are going to derive in it. It is such pleasures that will make them to go to any extend to ensure that they accomplish it. However, Mill is not advocating for people to engage in acts that are contrary to the moral standing of other individuals and the society in general. He emphasizes that the happiness should not only be reflected on the person engaging in the actions but also to other people around. There have been certain criticisms that have been raised against his principle of ultimate utility which he has clarified. He believes that everybody has that desire of doing something that will cause them satisfaction. For such a thing to satisfy them, then it must be pleasurable and also not causing any kind of discoid in the society.

When it comes to religion and pleasure, Mills believes that even God himself desires that his creatures live a happy life. He is against individuals who feel that believers need to sacrifice their pleasures to please their maker. The ultimate of everything in life is to achieve a certain goal, and unless the goal is to bring or cause happiness, then its labor is in vain. There are also some actions that may mainly bring satisfaction and not really happiness. This is also a point that has been raised by Kant on how some people engage in morally right activities simply because of the promised reward. As much as they have achieved something in bringing hope to an individual, their driving force is not necessarily to help but to receive the end reward. This are actions that are done out of duty of which it may not really hurt the person whether they accomplish them appropriately or not.


Kant and Mill have raised important points that need to motivate people to face the next day. They are basically both insisting on the importance of not simply living for the sake of it but laying targets and goals that one desires to fulfill and accomplish. There is psyche within an individual when they are assured of the end results of what they are doing. Despite the challenges that they may be encountered with on their road to achieve their goals, they will keep doing them with the assurance that one day they will get there. As they see the fruits of their hard labor, they will be motivated even further to set higher goals. They are against compromises of any nature as they believe in individuals that set goals that will satisfy the needs of the society. If every individual was driven by such kind of forces, then it would minimize on the frustrations that come by setting wrong goals. There is usually hope for one to re-channel their dreams and set newer goals if they discover that they have lost interest in what they are doing. There is no need for one to hold on to something that they see no hope in. It will be more satisfying for them to know that their actions are baring fruits for them and those that depend on them.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 25). The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, January 25). The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity.

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"The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity." StudyCorgi, 25 Jan. 2022,

1. StudyCorgi. "The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity." January 25, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity." January 25, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity." January 25, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Main Ideas Behind Kant’s Formula of Humanity'. 25 January.

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