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A Historical Account of the Concept of Happiness in Kant’s Moral Philosophy

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2015, (59), pp.35-59
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : October 4, 2015
  • Accepted : October 26, 2015

Lee Won Seok 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to investigate the change of the concept of happiness in Kant’s moral philosophy. In general, the moral philosophy of Kant has received criticisms that it neglects happiness. These criticisms point out that Kant criticizes the Eudemonism. However, Kant doesn’t oppose to happiness itself but to happiness used as a moral principle. From the pre-critic era to the post-critic one, he develops concepts of happiness broadly in his own system of practical philosophy. He sees the dignity in happiness and places it as the principle of hope. Moreover, he relates his own concept of happiness to the highest good in the system of practical philosophy. Happiness as the highest good in ideal is changed to the concept of self-satisfaction as a possible experience to happiness. It is only possible happiness, i.e. one should pursue happiness only as a result of moral acts and promote happiness of others. Therefore, in Kant’s moral philosophy happiness is not an end, nor a principle of moral conduct, but a means of pursuing the end of nature and moral.

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