Chapter

The Good Will

Henry E. Allison

in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199691531
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691531.003.0004
The Good Will

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This chapter considers Kant’s claim that “It is not possible to think of anything in the world, or indeed out of it, that can be held to be good without limitation except a good will.” Kant maintained that this judgment is implicit in the common human understanding and he argued for it by excluding all other viable candidates, including “gifts of nature,” e.g., health and intelligence, “gifts of fortune,” e.g., wealth and happiness, on the grounds that they are not good without limitation, since there are circumstances when they would judged bad by the common human understanding. It is argued that by a good will Kant understood an agent’s underlying character rather than her state of mind in performing a particular action and in light of this it defends Kant’s claim against the standard objections.

Keywords: gifts of fortune; gifts of nature; the good will; goodness without limitation; happiness

Chapter.  14158 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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