On Kant's Hedonism

Idealistic Studies 35 (1):83-100 (2005)
Kant’s ethical writings contain a hedonistic view of human motivation. This has been pointed out by several commentators. Less noticed, however, is his hedonic life perspective, present in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View and Critique of Judgment. This life outlook covers the full range of experience, so that Kant speaks not only of pleasures of the senses and the aesthetic imagination but also of pleasures felt through concepts (Begriffe) and ideas (Ideen). In the first part of the paper, I discuss how Kant’s hedonistic view of human motivation is integral to his metaphysics of morals, by examining his four theorems and supporting arguments presented in the Critique of Practical Reason. The second part explores Kant’s hedonic life outlook contained in his Anthropology and Critique of Judgment. I claim that his hedonic perspective is indeed presupposed by his hedonistic view of all human choices outside morality
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