Utilitarianism ,Aristotle and Kant

Essay :  Case Study

Read the case below; consider all the information carefully; and then, provide a detailed ethical analysis according to the following guidelines:

  1. What exactly would Kant think about Julia’s behavior?
  1. How about David—would a utilitarian approve of his involvement with Julia?
  1. Would Aristotle approve of this relationship as a whole?  If not, why not?  If so, why?  Would Kant’s position support Aristotle’s view or contrast with it?  How so?
  1. Finally, imagine that David is a friend who has confided in you.  He wants to know your opinion.  So, what do you think?  And more importantly, why?

***A good analysis will make use of many if not all of the terms listed below under the headings: “Aristotle,” “Kant,” and “Utilitarianism.”  You will want to refer to them as you formulate your answers and write your essay.  Remember: the details of the case matter.  Consider our definitions of ethics.  What are its aims?  Be thorough, especially as you write your response to part 4.

Here is the case:

David is a 22 year old who is having an affair with a married woman 20 years his senior.  Her name is Julia.  She has two children in their early adolescence.  Her husband knows nothing of the affair and she has gone to considerable lengths to keep it this way.  They meet in various cities that are usually determined by her political campaigning schedule.  She has stated several times that she feels guilty for what she is doing behind the back of her family, but she insists that she has not been happy in ages.  With David, she feels alive, loved, and contented.

When they met, David was one of Julia’s student interns.  Now, he teaches at a Santa Cruz county high school and leads programs for “at risk” children.  He claims that he is happy with the relationship.  He has accepted that she will never leave her husband; he is aware that the term of this relationship is limited; he is certain that he will be deeply hurt when the affair is over; but he believes that it is worth it.  Considering the affects the affair has on their lives, he believes that the positive consequences far outweigh the negative ones.  Plus, he insists, “this relationship is what we both need right now. People require loving relationships to thrive; and I’m the best thing that has happened to her in years.”

Utilitarianism :

The principle of utility

Negative responsibility

Basic moral intuitions

The Utilitarian Calculus



Definition of the word ‘ethic’ according to Aristotle




Practice, training, imitation



How can you tell who is already virtuous?

What is the criterion for determining which people are worthy of imitation?

What does an individual need to be ethical?

Human flourishing



The Will

Reason’s two tasks

The Moral Law

Duty to the Law

The categorical imperative (parts 1 + 2)

Human nature

The good will



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