Can somebody tell me where this famous quote comes from?

I mean in which book and on which page. I want to find this in German. If someone can provide the quote in German the way Kant wrote it, I would be grateful!

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    I made an edit. You may roll it back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking on the "edited" link above. – Frank Hubeny Aug 18 at 21:36
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    If you are interested in ideals if imagination, you should read the Critique of the Power of Judgement, 5:232-235, as well. – Philip Klöcking Aug 20 at 19:20
up vote 13 down vote accepted

It occurs in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, here it is in context (from 4:418-19, p.29 in the Gregor's Cambridge translation):

"He is not capable of any principle by which to determine with complete certainty what will make him truly happy, because for this omniscience would be required. One can not therefore act on determinate principles for the sake of being happy, but only on empirical counsels [...] so that there can be no imperative with respect to it that would, in the strict sense, command him to what would make him happy; for happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination, resting on merely empirical grounds, which it is futile to expect should determine an action by which the totality of a series of results in fact infinite would be attained."

The Role of Happiness in Kant’s Ethics by Hughes is a nice commentary. As can be seen from the quote, Kant's somewhat dim view of the prospects of happiness relies on his maximalism about knowledge that elevates "certain" a priori principles, and their implications, above the merely empirical claims. However, as we are no longer as confident of possessing any such "certainties" of reason, happiness may not, in principle, be in a worse position than anything else we pursue. Or at least a different argument would be required to the contrary.

Here is the German original of the quote above:

"[E]r ist nicht vermögend, nach irgend einem Grundsatze mit völliger Gewissheit zu bestimmen, was ihn wahrhaftig glücklich machen werde, darum weil hiezu Allwissenheit erforderlich sein würde. Man kann also nicht nach bestimmten Prinzipien handeln, um glücklich zu sein, sondern nur nach empirischen Rathschlägen [...], mithin kein Imperativ in Ansehung derselben möglich [ist], der im strengen Verstande geböte, das zu tun, was glücklich macht, weil Glückseligkeit nicht ein Ideal der Vernunft, sondern der Einbildungskraft ist, was bloß auf empirischen Gründen beruht, von denen man vergeblich erwartet, dass sie eine Handlung bestimmen sollten, dadurch die Totalität einer in der Tat unendlichen Reihe von Folgen erreicht würde."

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    I would consider this even better an answer if it would not weave in criticism that I find a bit unconvincing. The point is well-caught in Hughes' comment: That SINCE happiness is defined as a totality of (potentially) empirical content, i.e. all wishes coming true, we would need to see ALL possible outcomes (and possible opportunity costs) of our possible ways of action in order to make it the principle of action. So your criticism seems to put it upside down: Not the supreme certainty of the CI, but the absolute impossibility of knowing what makes you happy is the point he stresses here. – Philip Klöcking Aug 20 at 17:37
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    To make it a bit more substantial: Since Kant is clear about the application of CI involving empirical knowledge, I do not see how the point strikes home, since it is not about empirical knowledge as having relatively questionable epistemic value (compared to a priori certainty) as such, but the need to know a totality one cannot know but if one was omniscient. Therefore, it cannot serve as a principle from which to deduce a course of action. It it that which is different for the CI, but only if we already presuppose a certain understanding of morality (here, it is a logical deduction!). – Philip Klöcking Aug 20 at 17:43
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    @PhilipKlöcking It seems to me a copy of how we can never be sure of a causal law because it generates an infinite totality of instances to know which omniscience would be required. One could perhaps make an argument that the uncertainty about happiness is of a different sort than the one about inductive generalization, but Kant's argument explicitly groups them together in the a priori/empirical opposition. The only difference is that he thinks that causal a priori are available. And conversely, if one had a happiness a priori infinity of instances wouldn't be a problem. – Conifold Aug 20 at 22:17
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    But here, he is talking about why a) imperatives of prudence would in fact be analytical and thus unproblematically possible if the end (happiness) would be determinable (in the greater context) and b) the idea(l) of happiness - and hence an action that is conceived as objectively-necessary to achieve it according to a rule - is indeterminable for finite beings (in this passage). The reasoning why happiness cannot be a principle of morality since it is empirical content is completely irrelevant here. Here, he basically argues why its idea(l) cannot be a principle of action at all. – Philip Klöcking Aug 21 at 12:52
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    @PhilipKlöcking It is with happiness being "indeterminable" that the problem lies. Why should it be any more indeterminable than open-ended search for causal laws with infinity of ceteris paribus clauses attached? Determining "surely and universally" when a causal law applies is just as "completely insoluble" without omniscience, or without a priori. "Complete certainty" aside, if we can have the latter without transcendental assurances who is to say that we can not have "laws of happiness" as well? – Conifold Aug 21 at 20:17

Glückseligkeit nicht ein Ideal der Vernunft, sondern der Einbildungskraft ist,

Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten Kapitel I

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