- A pair contrasted in Kantian ethics. A hypothetical imperative embeds a command which is in place only given some antecedent desire or project: ‘If you want to look wise, stay quiet.’ The injunction to stay quiet only applies to those with the antecedent desire or inclination; if one has no desire to look wise the injunction or advice lapses. A categorical imperative cannot be so avoided: it is a requirement that binds anybody, regardless of their inclinations. It could be represented as, for example: ‘Tell the truth! (regardless of whether you want to or not).’ The distinction is not always signalled by presence or absence of the conditional or hypothetical form: ‘if you crave drink, don’t become a bartender’ may be regarded an absolute injunction applying to anyone, although only activated in the case of those with the stated desire.In Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (1785), Kant discussed five forms of the categorical imperative: (i) the formula of universal law: ‘act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law’; (ii) the formula of the law of nature: ‘act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature’; (iii) the formula of the end-in-itself: ‘act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end’; (iv) the formula of autonomy, or considering ‘the will of every rational being as a will which makes universal law’; and (v) the formula of the Kingdom of Ends, which provides a model for the systematic union of different rational beings under common laws.A central object of the study of Kant's ethics is to understand these expressions of the inescapable, binding requirement of the categorical imperative, and to understand whether they are equivalent at some deep level. Kant's own applications of the notion are not always convincing (see, e.g., sex ). One cause of confusion in relating Kant's ethics to theories such as expressivism is that it is easy, but mistaken, to suppose that the categorical nature of the imperative means that it cannot be the expression of a sentiment, but must derive from something ‘unconditioned’ or ‘necessary’ such as the voice of reason.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.
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hypothetical imperative — See categorical/hypothetical imperative … Philosophy dictionary
Hypothetical imperative — A hypothetical imperative, originally introduced in the philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant, is a commandment of reason that applies only conditionally: if A , then B , where A is a condition or goal, and B is an action. Then A would be a… … Wikipedia
hypothetical imperative — noun a principle stating the action required to attain a desired goal • Hypernyms: ↑principle, ↑precept * * * noun Etymology: translation of German hypothetischer imperativ : an imperative of conduct that springs from expediency or practical… … Useful english dictionary
categorical imperative — categorical/hypothetical imperative … Philosophy dictionary
Categorical Imperative — • A term which originated in Immanuel Kant s ethics Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Categorical Imperative Categorical Imperative … Catholic encyclopedia
Categorical imperative — Part of a series on Immanue … Wikipedia
categorical imperative — 1. Ethics. the rule of Immanuel Kant that one must do only what one can will that all others should do under similar circumstances. 2. the unconditional command of conscience. [1820 30] * * * In Immanuel Kant s moral philosophy, an imperative… … Universalium
imperative — n. in ethics, a principle used to direct or guide one s actions. Kantian ethics distinguishes between categorical and hypothetical imperatives. Whereas the latter are merely prudent or expedient and will vary with circumstances, the former are… … The new mediacal dictionary
golden rule — Any form of the dictum, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ In some form this is found in almost all religions and ethical systems. Kant s moral philosophy is centred on the enterprise of making a version of the rule compulsory… … Philosophy dictionary
good will — In the usage of Kant, a good will is the unconditional, intrinsic good, independently of what it ‘effects or accomplishes’ in the world (Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals ). It is the determination to act in accordance with the law of… … Philosophy dictionary