How is Kant's philosophy of "good will" related to happiness?

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mperez-mugg21 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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The relationship between happiness and good will in Kant's work is somewhat complex. According to Kant, having a good will is the necessary precondition for deserving happiness. However, possessing a good will does not guarantee happiness, and, in fact, they are frequently at odds with one another. According to Kant, possessing a good will requires one to act in accordance with the moral law and also to be motivated to perform actions with a sense of moral duty. Thus, having a good will requires one to disregard one's own happiness as a source of motivation.  Kant's theory also frequently requires one to perform actions that conflict with one's own happiness. One of the paradoxes of Kant's moral theory is that he believes that only those who possess a perfectly good will deserve to be happy, but in turn possessing a good will makes individuals less likely to achieve happiness.

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