Kantian Review 21 (3):343-365 (2016)

E. Sonny Elizondo
University of California at Santa Barbara
Traditionally, Kantian ethics has been thought hostile to agents' well-being. Recent commentators have rightly called this view into question, but they do not push their challenge far enough. For they leave in place a fundamental assumption on which the traditional view rests, viz., that happiness is all there is to well-being. This assumption is important, since, combined with Kant’s rationalism about morality and empiricism about happiness, it implies that morality and well-being are at best extrinsically related. Since morality can only make our lives go well by making us happy, and since morality can only make us happy by influencing our sensibility, morality is not its own reward--not really. It is simply the condition for some separate benefit. Drawing on Kant’s underappreciated discussion of self-contentment, an intellectual analog of happiness, I reconstruct an alternative account of morality’s relation to well-being. Morality does make our lives go well--and so is its own reward--not because it makes us happy but because it makes us self-contented.
Keywords Kant  Morality  Happiness  Well-Being
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1017/s1369415416000236
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):384-394.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant on Happiness in the Moral Life.Gary Watson - 1983 - Philosophy Research Archives 9:79-108.
Liberal Morality and Socialist Morality.W. B. Gallie - 1949 - Philosophy 24 (91):318 - 334.
Vindicating Kant’s Morality.Robert Arp - 2007 - International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (1):5-22.
Kant on Moral Freedom and Moral Slavery.David Forman - 2012 - Kantian Review 17 (1):1-32.
Selfishness, Self-Concern and Happiness.John H. Whittaker - 1980 - Journal of Religious Ethics 8 (1):149 - 159.
The Morality of Happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Atheism and the Basis of Morality.Stephen Maitzen - 2013 - In A. W. Musschenga & Anton van Harskamp (eds.), What Makes Us Moral? Springer. pp. 257-269.
On Some Issues of Communist Morality.Li Fanfu - 1981 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 13 (1):22-36.


Added to PP index

Total views
402 ( #17,247 of 2,386,586 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
56 ( #12,193 of 2,386,586 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes