Kant’s theory of morality centers on the role of moral duty in determination of human decisions. The theory advocated for the treatment of others as an end rather than just a means or tool. It further establishes that a person’s actions initiate from the maxims that lie deep within that person. These maxims are indicators of one’s intentions. The theory describes the use of an individual as a sheer means to an unrelated end. This is whereby one seeks to achieve some objective that the person being used is unaware of its existence. This, as per the theory, is morally wrong. One of the ways through which one can use others as a mere means is through deceit or coercion. Treatment of persons as ends in themselves is based on the maxims that shun manipulation. It involves an interplay of the other party’s independent maxims and his or her rational decision-making.
Furthermore, the theory purports that all human beings are equal and should receive equal treatment. The acts that foster free will and achievement of mutual goals are beneficent acts and involve a certain degree of selection. Justice and beneficence are the two pillars of the Kant theory that determine whether an action is morally right or wrong. However, the theory does not provide a means of ranking acts in a specific merit order, especially where there are several alternatives (all of which are just and beneficent).
Mill’s theory on morality (also utilitarianism) focuses on the happiness derived from the actions an individual pursues. The theory acknowledges the distinction between pleasure and pain. It further notes that there are different rankings of these pleasures. Achievement of personal goals is another source of happiness. The focus on happiness is because the theory is based on the postulate that happiness is a pillar of morality. This means that whatever gives an individual happiness should be a guideline on his actions and the decisions one makes. The theory finds its backing from the fact that most of the human actions draw motivation from the fulfillment of the various desires. This means actions are the avenues for the creation of utility from one’s environment. The theory, however, has received criticism for its disregard for human rights, equality and the consideration of others. Furthermore, the theory oversimplifies the concept of happiness.
Furthermore, it is difficult to measure everything as per a unitary standard. The complexity of happiness is the reason for the difficulty in this measurement. According to the theory, justice draws its application in morality from happiness. The theory links the human will to the human desires and explains that the will is driven towards the attainment of human desires. This means that ultimately happiness is the basis of morality, as per Mill’s theory. However, the theory receives criticism since it only seeks to explain why people act in a certain manner. Morality deals with adherence to a certain standard or code of ethics and not merely adherence to what is pleasurable.
Therefore, in view of the pillars of the two theories, it is wiser to stick to Kant theory on morality. Therefore, John ought to donate the car to charity. This is because Kant’s theory considers morality to be a consideration of other’s happiness and not just your own. This seems more justifiable and humane (hence morally upright). Beneficence overrides pleasure when it comes to determination of morality.