A marriage is full of moral ethics that should be followed. Kant would have agreed with me that we have moral duties to ones self and others. A marriage is committing moral thoughts, words, and actions to yourself and your spouse. Kant believed in treating other people the way you wish they would treat you. Never treat other people as if they were merely things. The formula of humanity states that we should treat people as an end and never as a means to an end. In committing adultery, the marriage and the spouse are being used as a means.
Marriage should be treated with dignity and not as a thing that can be played with. I hope no one would apply the universal law of categorical imperative to committing adultery. I could not imagine applying the act of committing adultery to how all others should act. If we did apply the universal law to committing adultery then marriage would be worthless. Basically, do not choose a rule for yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone else to obey. Kant believes that the only good thing is a good will. Good will equals good intentions. Committing adultery is not a morally good act and Kant would agree with me.
Utilitarianism is an action that is right if it maximizes the overall happiness of all people. In other words, an action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable to everyone. This is consequentialism. Utilitarianism has rule utilitarianism and act utilitarianism. In rule utilitarianism, a behavioral code or rule is morally right if the consequences of the rule are more favorable than unfavorable to everyone. I believe it is more favorable to your spouse not to cheat than to cheat. I would be also more favorable to you not to cheat so the spouse doesn’t get upset.
Act utilitarianism weighs the consequences of each particular action. There is a list of consequences of the act of committing adultery and none of them are good. There are moral rules against committing adultery and one of them is lying. In taking the vows in front of God is a form of a promise and breaking that promise is lying to God. John Stuart Mill is a hedonistic utilitarian. Our actions are meant to give happiness not only to ourselves but to others as well. Mill made the distinction of happiness between pleasures of the mental sort as a higher form than that of bodily pleasures.
Mill states, it is better to be intelligently dissatisfied then foolishly satisfied. The ultimate pain and misery caused by committing adultery is not worth the short term pleasure that it produces. Wikipedia. org states that Utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill is classified as a type of hedonism, as it judges the morality of the actions by their consequent contributions to the greater good and happiness of all. Mills believes that there can be different levels of pleasure as long as the act promotes an action which makes everyone happy. Mills would say that committing adultery doesn’t bring overall happiness.
Hedonism is described as pleasure is the highest good and whatever causes pleasure is right. On this note, hedonism would say committing adultery would be right if it is giving the cheating spouse pleasure. Committing adultery is motivated by desire and it can reduce pain by not telling the spouse that you are cheating. Most of the time committing adultery is motivated by sexual desire. My view on committing adultery is closest with Kantianism. Good will equals good intentions. They way I treat my spouse is the way I would want to be treated. I value marriage and I hope my spouse does too.