Although they respect the variety within humankind, they do nothing about the conflicts of interests of different parties within society. Furthermore, all of these theories have as their motivating factor self-interested ends, leaving us questioning whether or not a person acting out of these motivations is truly moral. Via this thought experiment, the good life for man can be separated from virtue, as virtue is only related to the good life by coincidence, in that it is what separates us from all else. Immanuel Kant (1724 1804) is generally considered one of the three or four greatest philosophers in the Western tradition. Aristotle spent a lot of time talking about happiness. But if you are still with me, listen to what Immanuel Kant, the great 18th-century philosopher, has to say about the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, so long as we abide by the CI, which adds the moral dimension to our lives, we are free to pursue the ends that lead to the happiness of oneself and those around us. These theories are based on this happiness, and their ideas of what happiness is, invariably overlap, as Epicurean Eudaimonia runs rather parallel to Mill’s higher pleasures (Mill, 1863). A consequentialist, like a utilitarian, would consider the opposite – stealing – the moral option. Actions must be rationally considered in light of the CI, and it seems this is Kant’s intellectual happiness, and … duty is the necessity of an action from respect for the law Like many Enlightenment thinkers, he holds our mental faculty of reason in high esteem; he believes that it is our reason that invests the world we experience with structure. Thus far, as Kant and Aristotle show, the Hedonist can achieve a sensible, more animalistic happiness, but this in no way equates to a good, moral life, thereby pointing toward happiness and virtue/morality as separate. Thus happiness and virtue are conjoined. Virtue stems from reason, which is the function of man. 0000001273 00000 n It is not unimportant. Not stealing money to save someone’s life. Kant thought that the means to happiness could not be clearly known. If virtuous action did not contribute toward happiness, it would not be recommended by Aristotle for it would serve no role in the Good Life as it would not contribute toward the ultimate end. One argument is that providing someone with a job is not treating them as a means to your ends; instead, by allowing them the opportunity to earn a living, you’re actually supporting their projects and happiness. Misfortune may render someone incapable of achieving her goals, for instance, but the goodness of her will remains. However, the opening fireworks are softened considerably by means of the often-invoked distinction between pathological and nonpathological feelings, a distinction that Kant himself relies on in the above-cited remark from the Groundwork . Aristotle’s problem was that his theory was motivated by a self-centred end, yet if basing morality on happiness removes what we commonly call ‘moral’ from the equation, removing happiness from its basis seems also to remove any obvious motivation for why we should act as such without introducing other self-regarding ends. Thirdly, these rules do not reduce human freedom. KANTIAN ETHICS . I believe Kant would answer thus. In short, pursuing happiness is a rational activity. Take choosing to force a highly depressed person to take pleasure-inducing drugs, or imagine a doctor abandoning a comatose patient to take his children to a theme park. <]>> Such happiness is undeserved. However, he suggests that this state of being can’t be realized by mere mortals. Very roughly, our capacities of sense experience andconcept formation cooperate so that we can form empirical judgments.The next large section—the “TranscendentalDialectic”—demolishes reason’s pretensions to offerknowledge of a “transcendent” world, that is, a worldbeyond that revealed by the senses. In fact, happiness does have a pretty important role in our lives, and it can have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. We are motivated to sensible happiness through inclination, such as a striving to feel pleasure through the satisfaction of desires. This is one of the ways in which we know that a good will is good without qualification. Firstly, the motivation behind moral action is in no way self-interest, it is a sense of duty. Aristotle states that happiness isn’t physical pleasure, but harmonizing the mind with virtue. But if another creature could also reason, and had its function as acting virtuously, what would man’s function be? Leading 20 th century proponent of Kantianism: Professor Elizabeth Anscombe (1920-2001). The flaws in Mill’s argument complement the strengths of Kant’s theory, and vice versa. Doing so enables one to continually make good choices and lead a happy life. But Kant's account does not stop here, for the liar does do wrong, even though it is not against the murderer. Aristotle believes happiness is the goal of human activity. Thus the reaching of these willed ends contributes toward ones happiness, because one wills to have ones desires satisfied. So, in some cases, one is being moral even when the consequences are knowingly bad. German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was an opponent of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism holds that pleasure and happiness have intrinsic value. Before addressing why Kant holds this view, it is important to understand what is being said through the term ‘happiness’ which, for Kant, can be understood in two ways; sensible, and intelligible. 0000004629 00000 n The discussion focuses on how to reach true happiness, and the relevance of happiness to decision making. Firstly, the motivation behind moral action is in no way self-interest, it is a sense of duty. Secondly, for Kant there is a firm set of rules that guide moral action which the other theories lack. To explain, consider Utilitarianism and Epicureanism. Kant does believe that, all other things being equal, it is better to be happy than to be miserable. Kant understands the highest good, most basically, as happiness proportionate to virtue, where virtue is the unconditioned good and happiness is the conditioned good. He believed happiness to be the end, and it is self-sufficient. Conflating the two unavoidably leads to both losing objectivity, as has been shown, thereby considerably reducing the force of any moral theory. In a Kantian sense, it is through our reason that we are able to lay down the law of the CI. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. c)The good will is the only thing that is good without qualification. This article will dive into the science of happiness, what it actually is, and why it matters. For the philosopher Kant, happiness is something that is rather ambiguous -- that is, happiness is not black or white, but rather, many different shades of grey, depending on the person. Aristotle wrote that we choose happiness always for itself, and never for the sake of something else. Will with good in itself. This equating of rightness and happiness produced is the key point which Kantian thought runs counter to. On his view, "Kant's moral feeling of respect can and does motivate moral action" (2). And should the CI be true, Kant is justified in believing that theories such as Hedonism and Utilitarianism fail to ‘adequately distinguish between virtue and happiness’ (ibid, p.8). Kant has much respect and faith in human reason, and believes that, should we reason properly, we will come to understand and be motivated by these rationally based duties, and this is where moral motivation is borne and on what his moral theory is based. Although they respect the variety within humankind, they do nothing about the conflicts of interests of different parties within society. According to Immanuel Kant, the road map towards happiness is not as black and white. Kant writes that the principle of happiness tells virtue “to her face that it is not her beauty but only our advantage that attaches us to her.” And that, he thinks, is clearly wrong. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. In Kant’s words, “virtue and happiness together constitute possession of the highest good in a person, and happiness distributed in exact proportion to morality (as the worth of a person and his worthiness to be happy) constitutes the highest good of a possible world” (5:110–111). What does Kant say about reasons function? It is for these reasons that Kant is able to introduce the CI, irrespective of whether or not abiding by it directly increases happiness. For example, most people say courage is a virtue; however, I'm sure it took courage for the 9-11 bombers to hijack different planes, their bad will makes courage immoral in this case. Indeed, we cannot imagine a situation, according to Kant, in which we would disapprove of a good will. Every human being can practise a way of life that will make him happier. This gives us a solid framework by which to assess our actions. Kant accepts that people are varied, and people’s ideas of happiness are numerous, leading to incoherence, self-contradiction, and innumerable moral conflicts of interests should happiness be the basis for morality. Both actions will result in more ‘pleasure’ or ‘happiness’, but will commonly be seen as the antithesis of what we call ‘moral’, for various reasons, from disregarding the depressed persons freedom and autonomy, to disregarding the doctor’s duty to help patients. British Shorthair. Both philosophers believe pleasure should not be the motivating force behind moral actions, for this completely disregards duty and virtue, thereby removing what is commonly called ‘moral’ or ‘good’ from those actions. For Aristotle, the most notable of the metaphysical philosophers, happiness is the highest desire and ambition of all human beings. 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