Happiness and Ethical Consideration


Kant's idea of happiness is aggravated by interest with the role it acts in his moral system. Basically in ethics, happiness can be analyzed like objective or subjective.  Claims that happiness is experience of some kind or other; and it might or not play the responsibility in ethics. Therefore, happiness is not associated with feelings or the satisfaction of inclinations. In addition, it is provided as a motivation or encouragement to live a virtuous life. There are to be two ideas that came up when examining Kant's model of happiness.

First, because he commonly takes contentment to be subjective, he found it nearly impossible to find a position for happiness in his ethical foundation. Second, because he attempted to hold the need for contentment in ethics, his use of the model ends up being indefinite. This second point shows that while he mainly understood contentment as subjective, he also used the phrase in means that did not correspond with a subjective description. Kant's effort with the concept shows that he recognized a feasible, ethical system that must analyze the model, and that can be its motivational value if there is no other reason.

According to Kant, it is impossible to describe what happiness is since it is fairly a perfect of the imaginations.  He supposed that even if happiness could be described like being a feeling of ideal ecstasy, no one can know what ideal bliss is, or what will bring out happiness, until the incidence takes place.  Therefore, happiness is both empirical (based on understanding) and indefinite.

Moreover, if happiness is perfect to the imagination, it is possible to reason and determine what way to take in order to obtain it.   Kant supported that, reason can facilitate avoid unhappiness and pain but staying away from unhappiness does not guarantee one being happy. Instead of looking for happiness, Kant believed that people should try to find moral law created by reason.  We should target on leading righteous lives and not be anxious about happiness. Kant assumed this to be the categorical essential.  For him, those who carry out duties for individual interest are only ostensibly moral and since the quest of happiness is based on personal desire, it cannot be ethical. True bliss/happiness can only be grounded on the moral work and not in the simple satisfaction of personal interest. (Paton, 1967: 112)

"When the imaginative human being has conquered incentives to bad intentions and is sentient of having done his bitter responsibility, he discovers that he is in a condition  that could be called happiness, a situation of satisfaction and tranquility of mind in which virtue is its own incentive." (Onora 1998: 95)

Therefore, Kant describes happiness as the "rational human being consciousness of the amicability of life which without disturbance accompany his entire existence". He argues that man as a rational person has certain, desires and needs to fulfill those requirements. Consequently, a conscious human being with needs essentially desires happiness, the contentment of those desires.

By this, he views that it is false in the logic of "causality in the beings of sense," but it is not totally false since there is another way of reality for a rational person than the humanity of sense. Kant was viewing some other level of survival where the human will focus to the moral responsibility as a pure sense determining opinions, (Betzler 2008: 79). So, Kant ends up by saying, "the uppermost good is the essential highest conclusion of a morally strong-minded will and a true objective thereof." The maximum good, then, is the aim of all rational humanity. Despite that, there is a serious flaw in Kant's idea of the maximum good. The dilemma is that ethical good is not essential, nor necessarily in any way, linked to happiness. Of course, one could claim that an ethical firm is an essential condition for contentment because, without it one would experience self disapproval, and, therefore, not be happy. Nevertheless, this is only a negative situation, and does not mean that if one does not experience disapproval, one will not be happy. This lacks the power one needs for a positive start of happiness. (Aune, 1979: 76)

Kant argues that the achievement of the uppermost good is the "moral desire" of every rational being. One may choose to drop a coin (righteous conduct) into the moral desire, but there is no assurance, or even possibility, of the desire coming true. Happiness, in this start of the summum bonum, is too much passive because it offers no award to act ethically. Part of the responsibility that happiness acts in most moral systems is to offer some motivation for ethical action. There may be a point of charisma to Kant's concept that does not succeed as happiness; although, this is dubious because the charisma of an object and the contentment it will bring and cannot be alienated. (Uyer, 2000: 90).

Kant's theory of happiness becomes difficult to establish what he meant. When establishing the foundation for morals, he used a subjectivist explanation that he truly rejected. When focused of the whole class of the human being, happiness became essential complement of quality value. Kant used the theory as outwit in one case and the incentives in the other. This uncertainty reveals Kant's effort with the idea of motivation in his moral system. Speaking of happiness as incentives in the next world is what Kant's is trying to offer an encouraging factor, (Betzler 2008: 102).

Another difficulty with "value to be happy" concerns its responsibility in the enthusiasm to be moral. Kant argues that, "the uppermost good may be the whole object of a pure realistic reason, i.e., of a pure motivation is not to be taken on determining ground of the pure motivation; the ethical law only must be seen as the foundation." Consequently, the maximum value is not as autonomous on determining foundation in place of the ethical law. If it were, the quality will would lose its force as the sole unconditioned worthiness. The highest value can, and must, be the aim of the ethical motivation; and because of the sensible and finite nature of human beings, the theory of the maximum quality is important to the ethical disposition.