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Kant on animal and human pleasure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Alexandra Newton*
Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA


Feeling, for any animal, is a faculty of comparing objects or representations with regard to whether they promote its vital powers (pleasure) or hinder them (displeasure). But whereas these comparisons presuppose a species-concept in non-rational animals, nature has not equipped the human being with a universal principle or life-form that would determine what agrees or disagrees with it. As humans, we must determine our mode of life for ourselves. Contrary to other interpretations, I argue that this places the human capacity for pleasure and displeasure outside of nature and in a realm of spirit.

Copyright © Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2016

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