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Human Welfare and Moral WorthKantian Perspectives$
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Thomas E. Hill, Jr.

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199252637.001.0001

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Happiness and Human Flourishing

Happiness and Human Flourishing

(p.164) 6 Happiness and Human Flourishing
Human Welfare and Moral Worth

Thomas E. Hill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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