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Local Desire Satisfaction and Long Term Wellbeing : revisiting the Gout Sufferer of Kant’s Groundwork

Title data

Pinheiro Walla, Alice:
Local Desire Satisfaction and Long Term Wellbeing : revisiting the Gout Sufferer of Kant’s Groundwork.
In: Belgrade Philosophical Annual. (2015) Issue 28 . - pp. 31-44.
ISSN 0353–3891

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

In this paper, I analyze the least discussed of Kant’s four examples of duty in the first section of his Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals: the gout sufferer who is no longer motivated by natural interest in his long-term wellbeing, and is thus in a unique position to secure his own happiness from duty. This example has long been wrongly interpreted as a failure of prudential rationality, as recently illustrated by Allen Wood’s reading of that example. I argue that the gout sufferer example is meant to illustrate a violation of a duty to the self and should not be confused with mere prudential failure. The example also helps us understand the line between prudential reason and duties to the self. I show that given Kant’s conception of happiness as an indeterminate concept and his hedonistic account of non-moral ends, it can sometimes be more rational from the perspective of empirical practical reason to choose short term over long-term wellbeing when long term wellbeing seems uncertain in regard to expected pleasure. In other words: Kant’s account of empirical practical reason does not rule out as irrational choosing short term pleasure at the expense of long-term wellbeing. However, this is precisely why the gout sufferer’s long-term happiness can be directly morally required and so becomes the content of a duty to the self. To explain how there can be a direct duty to promote our own happiness under certain circumstances I also elucidate Kant’s distinction between direct and indirect duties.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Department of Philosophy > Juniorprofessur Politische Philosophie > Juniorprofessur Politische Philosophie - Juniorprof. Dr. Alice Pinheiro Walla
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Department of Philosophy
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Department of Philosophy > Juniorprofessur Politische Philosophie
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 100 Philosophy and psychology > 100 Philosophy
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2017 09:23
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2017 09:23
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/40814