Aristotle’s solution is a more complex theory that seeks to once again reconcile these notions. Viz. For example, any respectable doctor will feel a sense of duty to help his patients. Although they respect the variety within humankind, they do nothing about the conflicts of interests of different parties within society. He lived his entire life in Konigsberg, Prussia which is today the city of Kaliningrad in Russia. 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 . 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. Actions must be rationally considered in light of the CI, and it seems this is Kant’s intellectual happiness, and … 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. Thus happiness and virtue are conjoined. Aristotelianism, on the other hand, is an attempt to bring in a nobler, virtuous ethic, but to a degree disregards the variety in humankind. He did not believe that happiness itself was necessarily good or ethical. It is for these reasons that Kant is able to introduce the CI, irrespective of whether or not abiding by it directly increases happiness. c. the good will. 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. For me personally, I often notice how much short-term happiness I’m sacrificing in anticipation of long-term happiness. We are motivated to sensible happiness through inclination, such as a striving to feel pleasure through the satisfaction of desires. 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. But where the utilitarian take happiness, conceived of as pleasure and the absence of pain to be what has intrinsic value, Kant takes the only think to have moral worth for its own sake to be the good will. Both of these questions are crucial ones for ethicists and Kant scholars. This article will dive into the science of happiness, what it actually is, and why it matters. I think happiness can – and should – be both. So, in some cases, one is being moral even when the consequences are knowingly bad. 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. 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). Hume and Kant operate with two somewhat different conceptions ofmorality itself, which helps explain some of the differencesbetween their respective approaches to moral philosophy. 0000001144 00000 n “For Kant, acting freely that is autonomously and acting morally according to the moral law, are one and the same thing. Thus the reaching of these willed ends contributes toward ones happiness, because one wills to have ones desires satisfied. Both theories have as their highest practical principle ‘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’. ( Log Out /  Viz. In response, I hope to have shown that a Kantian line of thought is preferable. However, as we are no longer as confident of possessing any such "certainties" of reason, happiness may not, in principle, be in a worse position than anything else we pursue. 0000005342 00000 n Thirdly, these rules do not reduce human freedom. No headers. Similarly, being a member of humankind, most people intuitively feel a sense of moral or social duty toward others. For Aristotle, happiness is the highest end of our actions. Kant's theory of good will is that it is the only truly good and ethical thing in the world. The Trouble with Maximizing Happiness Kant rejects utilitarianism. 0000040453 00000 n 0000001379 00000 n Is the Prohibition of Active Euthanasia Inconsistent if we Regard Passive Euthanasia as Morally Permissible? 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. 3. Obedience to the moral law — duty — is the most important thing, but happiness is also desirable. Thirdly, these rules do not reduce human freedom. The main question now facing Kant is why one should act morally. Leading 20 th century proponent of Kantianism: Professor Elizabeth Anscombe (1920-2001). – 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’). For Aristotle, it is not pleasure and pain that is the motivating force behind morality. This means that a good will is always good, and does not require anything else to be good. If they do not bring it about, we should bid them goodbye. Not in any remarkable sort of way - he was mainly concerned to show how it differs from goodness in an ethical sense. 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. If there is anything like meaning of life in Kant, it is the pursuit of the highest good, which is — in Aristotelian tradition — the harmony of virtue and happiness. Kant believed there was too much ambiguity in defining personal happiness, thus making it unsuitable as a basis for morality. Aristotle spent a lot of time talking about happiness. Kant's ethic. 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. In short, pursuing happiness is a rational activity. What is important is that morality is not based on happiness. ( Log Out /  According to Immanuel Kant, the road map towards happiness is not as black and white. We are motivated to act morally out of a sense of moral duty (as opposed to a non-moral motivation such as happiness). But through reading Kant’s texts, it is apparent that happiness does play an important role in his moral theory. It is noteworthy that he never directly appeals to the categorical imperative in any of his arguments to show that lying is always wrong. It is from here that many people misunderstand Kant, for there is no obvious connection with happiness. He argues that the greatest happiness can be achieved by following moral values to live a busy life of politics and public splendor. 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. c)The good will is the only thing that is good without qualification. Available at. – Kant is considered a deontologist, which is to say that an action is morally good if its intention, rather than its consequences, was good. So Kant tries to solve the conflict between morality and happiness, make up the contradiction between them. It involves highly rational aspects, from the gradual becoming of a virtuous man through habituation, to good fortune (NE Book2). Kant was quite an accomplished scientist who developed the nebular hy… 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). What is it to act and to feel virtuously? 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. Looking out for people's happiness follows from their intrinsic and infinite value as autonomous, free, rational beings. Laziness – OK, I’m as lazy as the next guy. 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. In response, I hope to have shown that a Kantian line of thought is preferable. 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. endstream endobj 42 0 obj<. And … Seen this way, hiring people is not denigrating them, it’s enabling. Aristotle and Immanuel Kant had quite a bit to say on the subject. Virtue stems from reason, which is the function of man. However, the moral theory of Aristotle seeks to go further, by reconciling the virtues with happiness (or Eudaimonia). These rules are there to maintain freedom. This “worthy of happiness” is the requirements for the confrontation and compromise between morality and happiness. Kant does believe that, all other things being equal, it is better to be happy than to be miserable. 0000004629 00000 n It is through using our reason, the capacity that pulls directly against desires, that we free ourselves from lower animal instincts and desires and enable ourselves to be truly autonomous; it is this that Kant encourages. 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. 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. QUESTION 1 Bentham and Kant agree on which of the following? He held that an act was not virtuous unless it was done as an end in itself, and that pleasure is a consequence of virtue, not a reason for it. 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. Kant understands the highest good, most basically, as happiness proportionate to virtue, where virtue is the unconditioned good and happiness is the conditioned 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. 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. By resting rights on a calculation about what will produce the greatest happiness, he argues, utilitarianism leaves rights vulnerable. You can also experience an unexpected pleasure for which you had no prior desire.9 Nevertheless, Kant does think that there is an important connection between pleasure and the formation of inclinations: 1. The intellectual and emotional parts of the mind create intellectual and moral types of virtue. It is not unimportant. For Kant, happiness and morality are two disparate notions that are often mistakenly observed as compounded. 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). The duty not to lie is not a duty of justice we hold against any particular other person, say the murderer, but a duty each one of us has towards “everyone” (8: 426). How does Kant define duty? 0000000636 00000 n Kant notes that an important assumption necessary for moral responsibility is the idea that we human beings give the moral law to our own wills. KANTIAN ETHICS . 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. 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. If you experience pleasure because x is now F, you will normally In very simple terms, he believed that happiness is basically getting what one wants. good will is good in itself according to Kant and not because of what the good will brings about. Doing so enables one to continually make good choices and lead a happy life. 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. British Shorthair. 0000001273 00000 n Yet without addressing happiness at all, a moral theory seems somewhat empty. He is probably the most well‐known defender of an absolute prohibition against lying in the history of Western philosophy. Reason and imagination are mental functions used to tap into emotional states such as happiness. 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. When we act, whether or not we achieve what we intend with our actions is often beyond our control, so the morality of our actions does not depend upon their outcome. 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. 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. Kant is a proponent of what he calls transcendental idealism. Is Fake Nature Less Valuable than the Real Thing? In his opinion, the way to reach it is through virtue. Under this light, Kant’s theory seems preferable to Aristotle’s. a. tells us that if we want something, we'd better act a certain way. d)Maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain is all that matters, morally speaking. Lv 6. The discussion focuses on how to reach true happiness, and the relevance of happiness to decision making. Happiness is not to be ignored when making decisions in life. With so many takes on happiness, it’s no wonder that happiness is a little difficult to define scientifically; there is certainly disagreement about what, exactly, happiness is. Also, the greatest happiness principle does not encompass the whole of human motives. 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. 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. And happiness for Aristotle is much removed from merely hedonistic conceptions. Aristotle’s attack on these types of theories is similar to Kant’s. Thus, virtue is a necessary ingredient to our perfection and happiness. And I often feel guilty about it. 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. Both theories have as their highest practical principle ‘happiness’. In a Kantian sense, it is through our reason that we are able to lay down the law of the CI. Firstly, the motivation behind moral action is in no way self-interest, it is a sense of duty. J. @��$+�r�O[���w �ۜ�e�:�/���v+�n����U �~��.&��*�o��e/y�/���m& Like Utilitarianism, Imannual Kant’s moral theory is grounded in a theory of intrinsic value. 0000001934 00000 n Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. 0000000016 00000 n 0 We say to ourselves, “This is the right thing to do, and so I will do it.” Aristotle seems to have made a large blunder in tarring all of humanity with the same brush. 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. Is he right? In short, pursuing happiness is a rational activity. In Ethics, Aristotle argues the highest end is the human good, and claims that the highest end pursued in action is happiness. E.g. 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. 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. However, Kant does not consider happiness to be in any way related to morality. 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. We all know that fucking off in the short term inevitably harms us in the long term. 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). 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. It's quite different from the average 21st-century advice. 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: 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. 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. Firstly, the motivation behind moral action is in no way self-interest, it is a sense of duty. ( Log Out /  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. More than just a tangible state, Aristotle believed that it is more a lifestyle. Why does Kant claim that the only thing good without qualification is a good will? While morality is, for Kant, the sole unconditional good for human beings, he certainly does not deny that happiness is an important good, and indeed the … 41 0 obj <> endobj Aristotle believes happiness is the goal of human activity. Secondly, for Kant there is a firm set of rules that guide moral action which the other theories lack. However, Kant argues that morality is not for the purpose of happiness, but people of virtue and morality should not always suffer. This enables Kant to promote the variety that often makes the world such a wonderful place, and to stifle this as Aristotle’s theory seems to is a great disadvantage that Kant evades. 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. a. happiness. It is happiness. b)Individual rights limit what can be done in the name of maximizing aggregate happiness. Aristotle states that happiness isn’t physical pleasure, but harmonizing the mind with virtue. Immanuel Kant Questions and Answers - Discover the eNotes.com community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on Immanuel Kant 0000002285 00000 n <]>> A consequentialist, like a utilitarian, would consider the opposite – stealing – the moral option. 642-675, Guyer, P (2007) Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, London: Continuum, Hill T (2002), Happiness and Human Flourishing in Human Welfare and Human Worth, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Kenny A (1996) Aristotle on the Perfect Life, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapter 2, Perfection and Happiness (pp. Kant thought that the means to happiness could not be clearly known. 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. Kant believe that liers and cheats and abusers and exploiters don't have the moral right to be happy. However, he seems to overlook the variety in human character and desires by ascribing this single ultimate end to everyone. 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. Although they respect the variety within humankind, they do nothing about the conflicts of interests of different parties within society. Happiness is not intrinsically good because even being worthy of happiness, Kant says, requires that one possess a good will. Change ). Will with good in itself. 41 17 Individual serves. These rules are there to maintain freedom. In sum, the basis of Hedonist and Utilitarian theories seems problematic. morality could not be objective as Kant believed. p.72). As per Kant, love is inherently a life-promoting force, and an act of terminating it does not come from the right intent to be considered moral. I'm trying to compare the two but after look at it so long they start to run together.. thanks in advance! 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. It is what makes man stand out from all other creatures. 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. For Kant, happiness and morality are two disparate notions that are often mistakenly observed as compounded. 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’. Full disclosure. Secondly, for Kant there is a firm set of rules that guide moral action which the other theories lack. 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. 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. Indeed, we cannot imagine a situation, according to Kant, in which we would disapprove of a good will. I think he’s one of the most fascinating philosophers to read, even if you disagree with him on everything. 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