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Kant Immanual

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By ewhaler
Words 497
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Emily Whaler
12 July 2014
Explain Kant’s distinction between a hypothetical imperative and a categorical imperative. Why does Kant think that all moral commands are categorical rather than hypothetical? What does it mean to act from a good will? Do you agree or disagree with Kant that only actions performed from a good will have moral value?
Immanuel Kant
Imperatives are commands in which Kant distinguishes between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. A hypothetical imperative is one that is relative. It takes the form of “If this, then that.” (333) This kind of imperative is not universal or absolute since they are conditioned on a relevant desire or greater achievement out of one’s self-interest. On the other hand, a categorical imperative deals with universalizability and strips away the emotions that bind a hypothetical imperative. Kant uses a formula in order to determine if an imperative is categorical. “Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become a universal law of nature.” (334) Kant suggests that if the command can be made a rule for all of mankind then it is categorical since this would make it universally binding. Kant thinks that all moral commands are categorical rather than hypothetical because only when one is motivated by morality can he have moral worth. This is because morality is not fixed in consequences that may arise, however, it is out of a person’s duty to fulfill that job regardless of their emotional state or desires, which defies a hypothetical imperative.
To act from a good will, according to Kant, depends on ones motives. He says that “ought implies can,” in which a person can be motivated to do an abundance of good, but is limited by factors such as finance or physical well-being. (330) In this case a person would be considered good with good motives despite their inability to produce a good outcome. However, someone...

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