EXTENDED ABSTRACT: In this paper, I deal with David Gauthier’s interpretation of Kant’s practical reason. Gauthier argues that happiness plays a unifying role in practical reason and that this function must be seen as a clear hint of the unity of reason. I discuss some suggestions of Gauthier and argue that they are not plausible as interpretation of Kant’s practical philosophy. The opportunities for reading the philosophers of the past, that Gauthier questions, are rooted in a more general philosophical strategy, that is to seek confirmation of the theories that he defends or to test them in the light of retrospective alternatives. This is the meaning of his confrontation with Hobbes and Hume, in the case of the social contract, or with Kant, regarding his theory of morality as part of the rational choice theory, according to an expression that had been used by Rawls to describe his theory of justice, but that can correctly describe Gauthier’s approach to morality and political cooperation, too. In my paper I will deal with a case that has to do with this last aspect of the philosophy of Gauthier, mediated by its interpretation of Kant, as it has been issued in his essay “The Unity of Reason: A Subversive Interpretation of Kant”. Gauthier’s strategy is to read the two Kantian theorems of practical reason as unifying principle for action and motivation. Gauthier’s idea is that, if there is a rational faculty which is the origin of the action, namely the will, and since this is defined by Kant as nothing more than practical reason, we should expect even here some concepts that unify data experience, as in the case of pure theoretical reason. It is surprising, however, that Kant does not provide any of these concepts. Actually, Gauthier thinks that Kant had effectively provide a practical pure concept, but has not had the courage to think it consequently as the unifying principle of moral experience. This concept is happiness and Gauthier asks for a deduction – that is a justification, in Kantian jargon –, stemming from the multiplicity of desires. The analogy with the theoretical knowledge is revealing, since as space and time are the conditions of our speculative apprehension of objects, so need is the condition of our practical apprehension. Apart from need, objects would not be grasped by us as of interest or concern; knowledge of them would be possible but would not dispose us to act in relation to them. Happiness is, therefore, that pure concept one should look for in the field of practical reason. This is what Kant have deliberately failed to recognize, in Gauthier’s opinion. I argue that the incompatibility between Gauthier and Kant is not due to what Kant should have to think and has not thought, but rather to the function of morality, which in Kant is not linked to the passions, but that works as a function of unification of the manifold, which is represented by the infinite number of opportunities to exercise of morality. However, this manifold is always given also as unity, that is as duty.

United Acts of Happiness

MARRONE, PIERPAOLO
2013

Abstract

EXTENDED ABSTRACT: In this paper, I deal with David Gauthier’s interpretation of Kant’s practical reason. Gauthier argues that happiness plays a unifying role in practical reason and that this function must be seen as a clear hint of the unity of reason. I discuss some suggestions of Gauthier and argue that they are not plausible as interpretation of Kant’s practical philosophy. The opportunities for reading the philosophers of the past, that Gauthier questions, are rooted in a more general philosophical strategy, that is to seek confirmation of the theories that he defends or to test them in the light of retrospective alternatives. This is the meaning of his confrontation with Hobbes and Hume, in the case of the social contract, or with Kant, regarding his theory of morality as part of the rational choice theory, according to an expression that had been used by Rawls to describe his theory of justice, but that can correctly describe Gauthier’s approach to morality and political cooperation, too. In my paper I will deal with a case that has to do with this last aspect of the philosophy of Gauthier, mediated by its interpretation of Kant, as it has been issued in his essay “The Unity of Reason: A Subversive Interpretation of Kant”. Gauthier’s strategy is to read the two Kantian theorems of practical reason as unifying principle for action and motivation. Gauthier’s idea is that, if there is a rational faculty which is the origin of the action, namely the will, and since this is defined by Kant as nothing more than practical reason, we should expect even here some concepts that unify data experience, as in the case of pure theoretical reason. It is surprising, however, that Kant does not provide any of these concepts. Actually, Gauthier thinks that Kant had effectively provide a practical pure concept, but has not had the courage to think it consequently as the unifying principle of moral experience. This concept is happiness and Gauthier asks for a deduction – that is a justification, in Kantian jargon –, stemming from the multiplicity of desires. The analogy with the theoretical knowledge is revealing, since as space and time are the conditions of our speculative apprehension of objects, so need is the condition of our practical apprehension. Apart from need, objects would not be grasped by us as of interest or concern; knowledge of them would be possible but would not dispose us to act in relation to them. Happiness is, therefore, that pure concept one should look for in the field of practical reason. This is what Kant have deliberately failed to recognize, in Gauthier’s opinion. I argue that the incompatibility between Gauthier and Kant is not due to what Kant should have to think and has not thought, but rather to the function of morality, which in Kant is not linked to the passions, but that works as a function of unification of the manifold, which is represented by the infinite number of opportunities to exercise of morality. However, this manifold is always given also as unity, that is as duty.
http://www.dirittoequestionipubbliche.org/page/2013_n13/stu_07-Marrone.pdf
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2745698
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