Kant’s Conception of Selbstzufriedenheit

In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur Und Freiheit. Akten des Xii. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. De Gruyter. pp. 2249-2256 (2018)


My aim in this paper is to clarify Kant’s conception of self-contentment, which is a particular kind of satisfaction associated with being a virtuous person. I do so by placing the term in the context of Kant’s answer to an objection made by Kant’s contemporary Christian Garve, namely the objection that if virtuous action is accompanied by a feeling of satisfaction, then virtuous action might only performed in order to experience this feeling of satisfaction . I begin by illustrating the main features of Kant’s concept of self-contentment before turning to Garve’s objection and Kant’s response to it. I conclude by clarifying the differences between self-contentment, respect for the moral law, and Kant’s concept of moral pleasure.

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Michael Walschots
Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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