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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

7 - A Kantian conception of human flourishing


This chapter focuses on a central feature of eudaimonistic virtue ethics generally regarded as absent from Immanuel Kant's ethical theory: a conception of human flourishing. It develops this Kantian conception through a discussion of Kant's doctrine of duties, especially his system of self-regarding duties. The chapter begins the discussion of human flourishing with Aristotle's account of eudaimonia. Human flourishing involves the blossoming of an agent's characteristically human capacities, and the experience of pleasures proper to the exercise of those capacities. Kant makes clear both the interconnection of the highest good in a person and the highest good for a possible world, and the latter's status as the ultimate end. Finally, the chapter shows how the resulting conception of flourishing fares in relation to the criteria and suggests its importance for understanding Kant's ethics and appreciating Kantian ethics.

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