We all know that fucking off in the short term inevitably harms us in the long term. Bibliography, Aristotle (2004) Nicomachean Ethics (Trans. For me personally, I often notice how much short-term happiness I’m sacrificing in anticipation of long-term happiness. Or if happiness does play more than one role in Kant's ethic, then it may be that there is more than one meaning of happiness. As Mill said, ‘Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness’ (ibid. Aristotle's Opinion on Happiness. 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). These seem to be the main problems with Aristotle’s theory. Aristotle’s solution is a more complex theory that seeks to once again reconcile these notions. This in no way precludes happiness from playing a substantial roll in the theory, so long as the theory does not rest upon the attainment of this happiness, as this, as shown, euthanizes morals. What does Immanuel Kant say about using people? Thirdly, these rules do not reduce human freedom. xref It's quite different from the average 21st-century advice. In sum, the basis of Hedonist and Utilitarian theories seems problematic. Kant On Happiness (Notes – not to be quoted verbatim) Kant’s rejection of happiness: The will, Kant says, is the faculty of acting according to a conception of law. This defect is remedied by 2Utilitarism which tries to avoid the lack of solidarity of an individualistic hedonism. Actions must be rationally considered in light of the CI, and it seems this is Kant’s intellectual happiness, and … KANT ON HAPPINESS AND REASON 245 and gain no pleasure. In Algra, K., Barnes, J., Mansfeld, J., Schofield, M., eds. Both of these questions are crucial ones for ethicists and Kant scholars. COMMENTS ON KANT'S ETHICAL THEORY Because we so commonly take it for granted that moral values are intimately connected with the goal of human well-being or happiness, Kant's insistence that these two concepts are absolutely independent makes it difficult to grasp his point of view and easy to misunderstand it. Yet, their theories differ ultimately in how to go about attaining happiness. This gives us a solid framework by which to assess our actions. p.9). 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. Change ). Hume and Kant operate with two somewhat different conceptions ofmorality itself, which helps explain some of the differencesbetween their respective approaches to moral philosophy. J. @��$+�r�O[���w �ۜ�e�:�/���v+�n����U �~��.&��*�o��e/y�/���m& For Aristotle, the most notable of the metaphysical philosophers, happiness is the highest desire and ambition of all human beings. Not stealing money to save someone’s life. Yet without addressing happiness at all, a moral theory seems somewhat empty. Human happiness has been a topic of discussion for thousands of years. In other words, if one cultivates within oneself the highest virtues, he or she will reach happiness. Kant’s Moral Theory . In sum, Aristotle’s reconciliation of virtue and happiness seems to fail because happiness can still be seen as higher than, or independent of, virtue and morality. <]>> He lived his entire life in Konigsberg, Prussia which is today the city of Kaliningrad in Russia. Both theories have as their highest practical principle ‘happiness’. How does Kant define duty? In short, pursuing happiness is a rational activity. Kant's ethic is often characterized as one in which the notions of duty and motive supplant the notions of happiness, pleasure, and ends. Loosely speaking, Aristotle would disagree with this. Aristotle states that a life of ultimate happiness and fulfillment is a life of solitary contemplation. Thirdly, these rules do not reduce human freedom. For Aristotle, it is not pleasure and pain that is the motivating force behind morality. Viz. The intellectual and emotional parts of the mind create intellectual and moral types of virtue. What about happiness? They don’t go for the happiness of the individual, but should be “worthy of happiness.” This “worthy of happiness” is the requirements for the confrontation and compromise between morality and happiness. If you experience pleasure because x is now F, you will normally However, the moral theory of Aristotle seeks to go further, by reconciling the virtues with happiness (or, Firstly, for Aristotle, there is a single form of, Secondly, looking at the basis for Aristotle’s virtues, such as temperance and patience (NE Appendix1), it can be seen that the motivation for acting virtuously is the achievement of. The discussion focuses on how to reach true happiness, and the relevance of happiness to decision making. %%EOF Although researchers have yet to pin down the definition or an agreed-upon framework for happiness, there’s a lot we have learned in the last few decades. Aristotle seems to have made a large blunder in tarring all of humanity with the same brush. However, the moral theory of Aristotle seeks to go further, by reconciling the virtues with happiness (or Eudaimonia). 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. 0 0. These theories are based on this happiness, and their ideas of what happiness is, invariably overlap, as Epicurean, These ideas epitomize the view of moral theories that recruit happiness as their basis. The way in which happiness is linked in with Kant’s Categorical Ethic is that he says ‘for practical reason to be indifferent to ends…would be a contradiction; for it would not determine the maxims of actions… and, consequently, would not be practical reason’ (as cited in Wike, 1994 p.63). What Kant has done is set forth this duty in a way that can be understood and that respects autonomy and freedom of others so that, looking at it from a distance, mankind as a whole will be more free to pursue personal ends. In several works, Kant claims that lying is always wrong, no matter what. Immanuel Kant is an 18th century German philosopher whose work initated dramatic changes in the fields of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and teleology. 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. Secondly, for Kant there is a firm set of rules that guide moral action which the other theories lack. Aristotle states that happiness isn’t physical pleasure, but harmonizing the mind with virtue. 0000005069 00000 n By way of explanation, through merely chasing pleasures as the Hedonist proposes, all we are doing is enslaving ourselves to our sensual desires, leaving us on a par with animals. In the Metaphysics he says, ‘When the thinking man has triumphed over temptations to vice and is conscious of having done his often difficult duty, he finds himself in a state of satisfaction and peace of mind which can well be called happiness’ (as cited in Wike, 1994 p.14): quite clearly explicating moral happiness. Kant believe that liers and cheats and abusers and exploiters don't have the moral right to be happy. The failure to acknowledge the disunity of happiness and morality helms various problems within moral theory, ergo Kant seeks to cast further light on this distinction to prove his proposition that a moral theory based on happiness is the ‘euthanasia of all morals’. 57 0 obj<>stream 2010 Election; The British Socialist Manifesto. On his view, "Kant's moral feeling of respect can and does motivate moral action" (2). 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). Looking out for people's happiness follows from their intrinsic and infinite value as autonomous, free, rational beings. 41 17 This is one of the ways in which we know that a good will is good without qualification. 0000004629 00000 n 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. c. the good will. duty is the necessity of an action from respect for the law The formulations of the CI provide us with laws by which to abide, that, should we do so, will maintain human freedom and autonomy; aspects of man that Kant held with especially high regard as it is through reason that we have the ability to be free. Leading 20 th century proponent of Kantianism: Professor Elizabeth Anscombe (1920-2001). Secondly, looking at the basis for Aristotle’s virtues, such as temperance and patience (NE Appendix1), it can be seen that the motivation for acting virtuously is the achievement of Eudaimonia. According to researchers Chu Kim-Prieto, Ed Diener, and their colleagues (2005), there are three main ways that happiness has been approached in positive psychology: Both theories have as their highest practical principle ‘happiness’. He defines sensible happiness as the ‘consciousness of the agreeableness of life’ (as cited in Wike, 1994, p.2), and sees this as the highest physical good (ibid). For Aristotle, happiness is the highest end of our actions. No headers. Kant believes that courage, intelligence, and happiness depend on a goodwill because they can all be used in an immoral way if they are used according to a bad will. It is happiness. Aristotle’s attack on these types of theories is similar to Kant’s. Available at. We say to ourselves, “This is the right thing to do, and so I will do it.” Aristotelianism, on the other hand, is an attempt to bring in a nobler, virtuous ethic, but to a degree disregards the variety in humankind. Why does Kant think a moral theory based on happiness is ‘the euthanasia of all morals’? 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. Immanuel Kant (1724 1804) is generally considered one of the three or four greatest philosophers in the Western tradition. Kant's theory of good will is that it is the only truly good and ethical thing in the world. Secondly, for Kant there is a firm set of rules that guide moral action which the other theories lack. This form of happiness can be paralleled with the happiness of animals; we loosely call a dog happy if its desires for play and care are satisfied. – But be careful: the summum bonum is not the reason for being moral – it is rather merely the later goal as a result of being moral. Thus it is not objective, because should we be in other circumstances, our function could be different, thereby changing the constituents of the Good Life; possibly removing virtue from its centre; something Kant greatly seeks to avoid, and contrary to the popular view that virtue does, and should always, play a role in morality; without this, morality loses its essence. It is happiness in both of these senses that Kant seeks to distance from morality, for having either of these as the basis for morality will ‘leave moral principles up to…contingent circumstances’ (as cited in Guyer, 2007, p.7). Seen this way, hiring people is not denigrating them, it’s enabling. Kant claims that the only thing that can be said to be good “without limitation” is. Kant believes that courage, intelligence, and happiness depend on a goodwill because they can all be used in an immoral way if they are used according to a bad will. If it does not, the theory will be too far removed from humanity, for we cannot be expected to constantly act in ways that pull contrary to our will. Available at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-social-political/ [Accessed on 14.09.09], Wike, V (1994) Kant on Happiness in Ethics, New York; State University of New York Press. One lives virtuously by nurturing his or her inherent good habits and developing new ones. %PDF-1.4 %���� Indeed, we cannot imagine a situation, according to Kant, in which we would disapprove of a good will. If you punish a child for being naughty, and reward him for being good, he will do right merely for the sake of the reward; and when he goes out into the world and finds that goodness is not always rewarded, nor wickedness always punished, he will grow into a man who only thinks about how he may get on in the world, and does right or wrong according as he finds advantage to himself. However, Kant does not consider happiness to be in any way related to morality. ‘End’ for Kant means, ‘the material of the will’ (ibid. Aristotle is not offering a magic wand to erase all threats to happiness. Since happiness seems to be reliant on external conditions, in that luck plays a part, and that man’s function could change to remove virtue from happiness, it is more coherent to separate morality and happiness, thereby creating one objective notion (morality), and one dependant notion (happiness). In a sense, for Aristotle happiness or Eudaimonia is the ultimate end that we are striving toward, but this is not an end that can be achieved through the pleasure seeking motives of a Hedonist or Utilitarian. 0000002209 00000 n 3. 2º- is that it is individualistic, because for hedonism only the happiness of the individual matters. The failure to acknowledge the disunity of happiness and morality helms various problems within moral theory, ergo Kant seeks to cast further light on this distinction to prove his proposition that a moral theory based on happiness is the ‘euthanasia of all morals’. The first half of the Critique of Pure Reason argues that wecan only obtain substantive knowledge of the world via sensibility andunderstanding. I'm trying to compare the two but after look at it so long they start to run together.. thanks in advance! (Athenaeus, 1999, p.666). Something is good if it promotes happiness, and it is bad if it produces suffering. More than just a tangible state, Aristotle believed that it is more a lifestyle. But through reading Kant’s texts, it is apparent that happiness does play an important role in his moral theory. He argues that the greatest happiness can be achieved by following moral values to live a busy life of politics and public splendor. Aristotle wrote that we choose happiness always for itself, and never for the sake of something else. Immanuel Kant: Aesthetics. According to utilitarians, there is a very close connection between human reason and happiness -- their calculative conception of reason is in the service of happiness. The Absurdity of Life: Does that mean meaningless and despair? ( Log Out /  He is probably the most well‐known defender of an absolute prohibition against lying in the history of Western philosophy. Alternatively, intelligible happiness, or ‘moral happiness’, is not conjoined with inclination, but reason; the capacity that diametrically opposes inclination, with a constant ‘will to power’ (Nietzsche 1998, p.11) between them. Kant does believe that, all other things being equal, it is better to be happy than to be miserable. 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. “A Great Moment For Democracy”: Nick Griffin on BNP’s ‘Victory’ at the European Elections, The Miscomprehension of Refraining from Polling, The Felice Brothers’ ‘Yonder is the Clock’, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-social-political/. Lv 6. Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (N.D) Kant’s Social and Political Philosophy. The key to Kant’s moral and political philosophy is his conception of the dignity of the individual. Aristotelianism, on the other hand, is an attempt to bring in a nobler, virtuous ethic, but to a degree disregards the variety in humankind. According to Immanuel Kant, the road map towards happiness is not as black and white. Kants philosophy is extraordinarily complex but perhaps he was most interested in reconciling Christianity with the science of the Enlightenment. What does Kant say about reasons function? Is Fake Nature Less Valuable than the Real Thing? In a Kantian sense, it is through our reason that we are able to lay down the law of the CI. Aristotle also claims that happiness is achieved only by living a virtuous life – “our definition is in harmony with those who say that happiness is virtue, or a particular virtue; because an activity in accordance with virtue implies virtue. British Shorthair. This equating of rightness and happiness produced is the key point which Kantian thought runs counter to. But just as though a doctor’s conduct must be regulated as not all doctors will act fundamentally out of duty, man’s conduct must also be regulated as not everyone will always act out of moral duty. They fail to appreciate that ‘the maxims of virtue and those of one’s own happiness are entirely heterogeneous as regard their highest practical principle’ (ibid). The Trouble with Maximizing Happiness Kant rejects utilitarianism. Through this we are freed from blindly chasing desires and happiness, which for Kant is a higher state of being, thus liberating us to rationally pursue happiness. He says that ‘happiness then is the best…most pleasant thing’, and ‘happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue’ (Ross 2000, p.10). Individual serves. A. K. Thomson), London: Penguin, Aristotle (2000), Nicomachean Ethics) (Trans W. D. Ross), Kindle Ebook, Athenaeus (1999) Deipnosophistae. Laziness – OK, I’m as lazy as the next guy. He believed that happiness was the goal of life, achieved by living virtuously. I think happiness can – and should – be both. But where the utilitarian takes happiness, conceived of as pleasure and the absence of pain to be what has intrinsic value, Kant takes the only thing to have moral worth for its own sake to be the capacity for good will we find in persons. However, he suggests that this state of being can’t be realized by mere mortals. 0000001934 00000 n Kant proposes practical reason, not impulses or desires, to achieve the proper state of human existence. In his opinion, the way to reach it is through virtue. Private happiness. It would not be applicable to all rational beings at all times, in all places, for it would be dependant at least on ‘contingent circumstances’. “For Kant, acting freely that is autonomously and acting morally according to the moral law, are one and the same thing. For Kant, however, these are less problematic, firstly, what is moral or virtuous in his theory is to abide by the ‘universal principle of right’, which is rational and non-changing, yet respects the variety in humankind, therefore is preferable to Aristotle’s stringent, single view of happiness. These ideas epitomize the view of moral theories that recruit happiness as their basis. Firstly, the motivation behind moral action is in no way self-interest, it is a sense of duty. However, he seems to overlook the variety in human character and desires by ascribing this single ultimate end to everyone. 0000001064 00000 n Under this light, Kant’s theory seems preferable to Aristotle’s. But Kant's account does not stop here, for the liar does do wrong, even though it is not against the murderer. Virtue stems from reason, which is the function of man. 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. Kant thought that the means to happiness could not be clearly known. And I often feel guilty about it. Aristotle believes happiness is the goal of human activity. The chapter surveys what Kant says about lying in his writings. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Virtue, one of the primary basis for achieving happiness in Aristotle’s ethics, can be seen as quite unstable in his argument. Although they respect the variety within humankind, they do nothing about the conflicts of interests of different parties within society. In short, pursuing happiness is a rational activity. 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. If this were the case there could be no such thing as the fundamental keystone of Kant’s moral theory; the objective Categorical Imperative (CI). German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was an opponent of utilitarianism. To surmount this, Kant seeks to show the Moral Life as objective, that is, independent of any external circumstances as Aristotle’s theory is. Is he right? Similarly, an Epicurean quote relating to the virtues, that steadfastly opposes Kant’s own view is: We should prize the honourable and the virtues…if they bring about pleasure. It is the most unqualifiedly perfect thing we can attain, and ‘perfection [of man] is a…property which happiness much possess’ (Kenny, 1996, p.17), and perfection is something aligned with man’s function; ‘an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’ (1098a16). To explain, consider Utilitarianism and Epicureanism. Happiness is not to be ignored when making decisions in life. Actions must be rationally considered in light of the CI, and it seems this is Kant’s intellectual happiness, and more importantly this is what he sees as deserved happiness, for it is far from difficult for one to pursue happiness irrespective of morality, whereas pursuing happiness in line with morality is deserved and virtuous, and something one can appreciate as being a significant part of the ‘Good Life’. But, as mentioned previously, if these virtues in no way contribute toward Eudaimonia, Aristotle has no reason to promote them for they serve no real use in the Good Life, or in achieving the perfect end. Kant says we are supposed to do the right thing for the right reason and not out of the desire for the reward or out of fear of punishment. We are motivated to sensible happiness through inclination, such as a striving to feel pleasure through the satisfaction of desires. startxref Like Utilitarianism, Imannual Kant’s moral theory is grounded in a theory of intrinsic value. Doing so enables one to continually make good choices and lead a happy life. 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. Thus, while Diane may be making a decision based on what she considers to be her right to dignity, as per Kant, she is doing a wrong to herself and breaking a critical universal moral rule. Obedience to the moral law — duty — is the most important thing, but happiness is also desirable. On his view, "Kant's moral feeling of respect can and does motivate moral action" (2). p.72). 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. endstream endobj 42 0 obj<. There is, however, a problem with this. What feels the best for the most is virtue. 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. Why are moderation, self-control, and sober reflection not unconditionally good? 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. What does Kant say about reason serves? He believed happiness to be the end, and it is self-sufficient. Self reservation and obtaining happiness. And … I aim to demonstrate that Kant is right in this proposal by laying bare some problems with theories such as Utilitarianism and Aristotelianism, and expounding ways in which a Kantian approach is preferable. 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. I would say that Kant’s Rule made all these diverse people happy — but Kant doesn’t give a shit about happiness. Conflating the two unavoidably leads to both losing objectivity, as has been shown, thereby considerably reducing the force of any moral theory. ( Log Out /  16-22), Kant, I Critique of Practical Reason,[excerpts from coursepack], Kant, I The Metaphysics of Morals, [excerpts from coursepack], Mill J S (1863) Utilitarianism,, London: Parker, Son and Bourn, Nietzsche, F (1998) Beyond Good and Evil, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Pogge T (2007), Fundamental Interests versus Happiness in John Rawls, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Rousseau J J (1968), The Social Contract (trans. This article will dive into the science of happiness, what it actually is, and why it matters. Kant, more sympathetic to this variety, and in line with much common thought, believed the only universal principle of right is that; ‘Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone’s freedom in accordance with a universal law, or if on its maxim the freedom of choice of each can coexist with everyone’s freedom in accordance with a universal law’ (as cited in SEP, N.D). This series of animated videos comes to us from Wireless Philosophy (Wi-Phi for short), a project jointly created by Yale and MIT in 2013. I think he’s one of the most fascinating philosophers to read, even if you disagree with him on everything. 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. This means that a good will is always good, and does not require anything else to be good. Kant understands the highest good, most basically, as happiness proportionate to virtue, where virtue is the unconditioned good and happiness is the conditioned good. The main question now facing Kant is why one should act morally. Mourice Cranston), London: Penguin, Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (N.D) Kant’s Social and Political Philosophy. Or at … This idea was built upon after Kant met Rousseau, who said that ‘obedience to a law one prescribes to oneself is freedom ‘ (Rousseau, 1968, p.65). a)Pleasure is the only thing that is good without qualification. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Thus, virtue is a necessary ingredient to our perfection and happiness. 0000001379 00000 n They say happiness is a journey and not a destination. 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. – The ultimate goal of reason, the highest good, therefore is a combination of virtue and happiness – this Kant calls the summum bonum (Latin for ‘highest good’). Finally, this theory leaves much scope for people to pursue happiness, which is protected by the CI, thereby making a Kantian ethic more coherent than alternatives, in turn reintroducing true morality back into the picture, rather than a loose form of egoism. For contrast and comparison, see Surprenant’s summaries of Aristotle and Kant’s views above and below. Reduce human freedom wrongdoing “ in general ” ( 8: 426, 429 ) when she.... Equating of rightness and happiness see Surprenant ’ s theory facing Kant is firm..., it is not pleasure and happiness calls transcendental idealism s life our what does kant say about happiness... 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