Kant Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives

Topics: Categorical imperative, Immanuel Kant, Morality Pages: 3 (1280 words) Published: May 3, 2008
In the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, by Immanuel Kant, Kant proposes a very significant discussion of imperatives as expressed by what one “ought” to do. He implies this notion by providing the audience with two kinds of imperatives: categorical and hypothetical. The discussion Kant proposes is designed to formulate the expression of one’s action. By distinguishing the difference between categorical and hypothetical imperatives, Kant’s argues that categorical imperatives apply moral conduct in relation to performing one’s duty within the contents of good will. According to Kant, the representation of an objective principle insofar as it necessitates the will is called a command which formulates the notion of an imperative . Imperatives are simply a formula of a reason. It determines the will of the action. Imperatives can be expressed in terms of what ought to do. For example, take the command “Sit Down!” Kant expresses this command as an imperative by stating, “You ought to sit down!” All imperatives are formulated by doing an action according to the standard of a will that it will provide a good ending in some way. If the end action is good, as a mean to something else than it is considered a hypothetical imperative. On the other hand, if the action is good according to itself than it is considered a categorical imperative. Thus, Kant implies a distinction between these two kinds of imperatives. The first imperative that Kant proposes is hypothetical. A hypothetical imperative states only that an action is good for some purpose, either possible or actual . In a hypothetical imperative the action is done out of necessary for some purpose. Hypothetical imperatives take on the general form of; “If ... then…” “If” is considered the antecedent and “then” is considered conditional. Hypothetical imperatives tell us what we should do provided the fact that we have certain desires. For example, “If you want to get an A, then you ought to study.” Wanting...
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