Two conceptions of the highest good in Kant

Journal of the History of Philosophy 26 (4):593-619 (1988)
This paper develops an interpretation of what is essential to kant's doctrine of the highest good, Which defends it while also explaining why it is often rejected. While it is commonly viewed as a theological ideal in which happiness is proportioned to virtue, The paper gives an account in which neither feature appears. The highest good is best understood as a state of affairs to be achieved through human agency, Containing the moral perfection of all individuals and the satisfaction of their permissible ends-I.E., One in which all act from the moral law and in doing so achieve their intended ends. The paper shows that the texts contain two distinct conceptions not distinguished by kant-Both a theological and a secular (political) notion. The standard objections apply to the theological, But the secular conception is consistent with kant's conception of moral conduct. Moreover, That the highest good is introduced as an end to be constructed out of the moral law indicates that the secular version is the essential notion
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