Happiness as a Natural End
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Assuming that we do not freely do what we unavoidably do, and that to wish for and seek something is to have it as an end of action, these two claims from the Doctrine of Virtue seem inconsistent.3 The inconsistency, if genuine, is not harmless. The first claim (hereafter, ‘E’), and equivalent statements elsewhere express the extent of Kant’s belief in free will, as well as feature in his arguments that there are ends that are duties, and that such duties cannot be constrained by others but only self-constrained.4 The second claim (hereafter, ‘H’) and equivalent statements elsewhere feature in Kant’s arguments that we can have no direct duty to pursue our own happiness, that prudential rationality is distinct from mere skillfulness, and that, unlike the Categorical Imperative (CI), the problem of the ‘possibility’ of a hypothetical imperative needs no solution.5 This is, in other words, an inconsistency between basic premises of Kant’s moral philosophy. I am not confident that there is any way of squaring E and H, given the uses to which Kant puts them. I am confident that the most plausible ways that Kantians have tried to put..|
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