Kant on moral satisfaction

Michael Walschots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This paper gives an account of Kant’s concept of self-contentment [Selbstzufriedenheit], i.e. the satisfaction involved in the performance of moral action. This concept is vulnerable to an important objection: if moral action is satisfying, it might only ever be performed for the sake of this satisfaction. I explain Kant’s response to this objection and argue that it is superior to Francis Hutcheson’s response to a similar objection. I conclude by showing that two other notions of moral satisfaction in Kant’s moral philosophy, namely ‘sweet merit’ and the highest good, also avoid the objection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-303
Number of pages23
JournalKantian Review
Issue number2
Early online date5 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Self-contentment
  • Garve
  • Hutcheson
  • Eudaimonism
  • Pleasure
  • Happiness
  • Moral motivation


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