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Volume 8, Issue 2, 2021

Daniel Rönnedal
Pages 187-210

The Highest Good and the Relation between Virtue and Happiness
A Kantian Approach

The paper develops a Kantian view of the highest good and the relation between virtue and happiness. Several Kantian theses are defended, among them the thesis that the highest good is realized only if every virtuous individual is happy, the view that virtue is neither necessary nor sufficient for happiness, and the proposition that virtue is both necessary and sufficient for the worthiness of being happy. The author argues that the highest good ought to be realized and that it ought to be that everyone who is virtuous is happy. To prove these claims, the author will use techniques developed by modern deontic logicians. According to Kant, we do not have an immediate duty to promote our own happiness, the aim of morality being not personal satisfaction but rather virtue and the good will. The important question is not “How do I become happy?” but “How do I become good?”. The arguments in this paper support this view.