Last Updated 05 Jan 2023

A Reflection on the Pursuit of Happiness in Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant

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The pursuit of happiness is a universal ideology of all humans. When I came to 4:418 in Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, I began to think how this specifically applies to me, my peers and my country as a whole. Kant states something along the lines of "the ends justify the means". While I do not necessarily agree with this concept in all forms, I believe that it is applicable in some cases in the pursuit of happiness. For example, if you really love a woman and wish to marry her, but do not have her parent's blessing, I believe that if marrying her would truly make you happy, then you should marry her. However, this is where personal values come in. For example, if you really loved the same woman, and wanted to marry her, but she was already married, I believe that you should not act on your pursuit of happiness. However, everyone has their own values, and may act differently.

The pursuit of happiness is even prevalent in the Declaration of Independence, which guaranties everyone the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence also guaranties that every human is equal. However, even in today's society, it does not seem to be this way. Some of us may be wealthy, or some of us may be gifted with a loving family etc. Nevertheless, I believe that all humans are inherently created equal. I like to think of life as a game of cards. It is not about the hand you are dealt, but how you play the game.

I understand that not all of this directly applies to Kant's writing, but when I read I try to think about how the ideas and concepts apply to my life. In this case, the pursuit of happiness affects the entire human race and it is arguably, what the essence of human life is about. However, all of this is up to debate, and I hope that we will specifically address this issue in either lecture or recitation this week.

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