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Happiness and Pleasure in European Thought

Modern Views On Happiness

In the modern epoch, the notion of happiness has narrowed considerably. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) plays a principal role in this development in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. There, he establishes his deontological moral theory, which has no room for happiness since moral actions are undertaken out of a sense of duty rather than from a psychological state or feeling. In this view, any "moral" system based on happiness amounts to hedonism, which cannot possibly provide the groundwork for morality. As such, the importance of happiness in ancient virtue ethics gets severely undercut.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Habit memory: to HeterodontHappiness and Pleasure in European Thought - The Hellenistic Era, The Medieval View, Modern Views On Happiness, Act Utilitarianism, Rule Utilitarianism