Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quote of the Week, 2015-01-14

We cannot invert these and make on one side our own happiness, and on the other the perfection of others, ends which should be in themselves duties for the same person.

For one's own happiness is, no doubt, an end that all men have (by virtue of the impulse of their nature), but this end cannot without contradiction be regarded as a duty. What a man of himself inevitably wills does not come under the notion of duty, for this is a constraint to an end reluctantly adopted. It is, therefore, a contradiction to say that a man is in duty bound to advance his own happiness with all his power.

IV. What are the Ends which are also Duties?, The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics, by Immanuel Kant

Translated by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott

Retrieved from Project Gutenberg

People don't inevitably will happiness of themself. Some seem determined to undermine their happiness; others pursue lives through habits that bring them no pleasure. At the very least, each person has a duty to themself to determine what will bring happiness, and allow themself the habit of acting in such a fashion from time to time. This quote seems to positively disregard human behavior.

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