Happiness and Human Flourishing

Thomas E. Hill

in Human Welfare and Moral Worth

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252633
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597695 | DOI:
Happiness and Human Flourishing

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Reviews the role of happiness in Kant's moral and political philosophy and contrasts his ideas of happiness with ideas of human flourishing prominent in ancient philosophy. It considers possible reasons why Kant avoided the latter and worked instead with more subjective conceptions of happiness. This was apparently due not merely to historical influences or misunderstanding of ancient ethics but also to Kant's respect for the moral freedom of individuals to choose, within limits, the way of life they prefer. Kant's understanding of happiness affects his ideas of intrinsic value, prudence, beneficence, and the aim of government. Michael Slote's charge that Kantian ethics requires us to devalue our own happiness relative to others’ arguably rests on a flawed analogy between beneficence to others and promoting one's own happiness.

Keywords: beneficence; happiness; human flourishing; intrinsic value; Kantian ethics; moral freedom; prudence; Slote

Chapter.  18077 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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