The purpose of this paper is to defend Kant's idea of the highest good against two of the most compelling criticisms that it faces. First, the problem of heteronomy, which asserts the principle of autonomy. Second, the problem of derivation, which states that the highest good cannot be derived from the moral law or categorical imperative. The defense mainly relies on the thesis that the highest good is the moral law’s constructed object.
The article also points out what is yet required for an overarching defense of the highest good, namely, a response to the other problems at stake, which are here labeled as those of heteronomy (the highest good undermines the principle of autonomy, since it as an object includes happiness), deduction (the highest good is not contained and does not follow from the moral law), and irrelevance (the highest good is irrelevant for ethics).
This article was presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Study Group of the North American Kant Society at Washington University in St. Louis in October 2014.