Kantian Eudaimonism

Journal of the American Philosophical Association (forthcoming)
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Abstract

My aim in this paper is to reorient our understanding of the Kantian ethical project, especially in relation to its assumed rivals. I do this by considering Kant’s relation to eudaimonism, especially in its Aristotelian form. I argue for two points. First, once we understand what Kant and Aristotle mean by “happiness,” we can see that not only is it the case that, by Kant’s lights, Aristotle is not a eudaimonist. We can also see that, by Aristotle’s lights, Kant is a eudaimonist. Second, we can see that this agreement on eudaimonism actually reflects a deeper, more fundamental agreement on the nature of ethics as a distinctively practical philosophy. This is an important result, not just for the history of moral philosophy but for moral philosophy as well. For it suggests that both Kantians and Aristotelians may well have more argumentative resources available to them than is commonly thought.

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E. Sonny Elizondo
University of California at Santa Barbara

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