Kant's Concept Of Happiness Essay

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On Happiness
I: Kant’s view of the Concept (or Idea) of Happiness In this section, through an analysis of Kant’s Groundwork, Critique of Practical Reason, and The Metaphysics of Morals, I will demonstrate: (1) The elements of happiness and what happiness is about; (2) The concept of happiness is different for different humans; (3) The principle of happiness is the same for different humans; and (4) Why having the same content and principle of happiness for all humans is not a principle of the categorical imperative (CI).

I.1: The Elements of Happiness and What Happiness is About: In Groundwork I, happiness is described as the “complete well-being and satisfaction with one’s condition” (G: 4:393). Pursuits of happiness include attaining prosperity, health, prestige, pleasure, etc; but these are not always worth pursuing. Kant distinguishes conditional from unconditional goods. The only unconditional good is a good will, whose presence always improves conditional things (G: 4:393). Hence, happiness is conditional, and its goodness is secured only by the presence of a good will. So, happiness is about living a certain kind of life—a life guided by the presence of a good will. If happiness was about merely seeking pleasure, it would not have the presence of a good will. Pursuing happiness without a good will results in boldness, and
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The faculty of desire gets humans moving and feeling in certain ways. If the faculty of desire determines the ground of the will, it is “empirical and can furnish no practical laws” (CR: 5:21). Hence, the faculty of desire would be used as a metric of strength. This could never be universal like a CI because the way humans measure pleasure varies. Since a principle of happiness is empirical, it is material. Material principles cannot be a CI because they are about pleasure and

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