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Explain The Difference Between Hypothetical And Categorical Imperatives

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(a): Explain the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives (25 marks) Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) believed that an objective moral code for right and wrong existed. He devised an ethical theory, aptly called Kantian Ethics, which is a deontological theory of ethics. This is due to it being based on the actions that people carry out, not any good or bad consequences that may or may not arise from the situation. Kant was also highly distrustful of experience and seemingly "empirical" knowledge that came from our senses as this was, in Kantian terms, from the phenomenal world, thus meaning that it is subjective to our sense, and to gain true objectivity, we needed to gain knowledge of a world that our minds have no direct access to; the noumenal world, or the real world. As we do not have direct access to this, we must use something that everyone has access to: reason. ...read more.


Morality must, therefore, be a specific set of categorical imperatives. Kant also believed that an action must not only be done that is good, but it also has to be done for the sake of doing it, not as a means to an end. However, although both the hypothetical and categorical imperative are commands, they have very little in common besides this. In fact, they are very, very different. The categorical imperative is a conditional command which is willed as an end in itself. A hypothetical imperative, on the other hand, is a conditional command that is willed as a means to an end. A hypothetical good is an instrumental good, whereas a categorical imperative is an intrinsic good, something which is good in itself. In terms of reason, something which Kant believed was of upmost importance, the commands also vary greatly. A categorical imperative is based on a priori knowledge; reason and logic are used to determine what is and what isn't an universalisable moral law or command. ...read more.


The second formulation is that you should always treat people as ends in themselves, and never as means to an end - you should never use another person as a way of getting to something else. Kant called this Formula of End in Itself. The third and final formulation is the Formula of a Kingdom of Ends. This is the idea that everyone should act as though everyone they treat is an end not just a means to an end, not just the individual. The hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative have some obvious and very great differences, from being conditional and unconditional, being a priori and a posteriori and from being dismissed by Kant and being developed by him into three formulations. However, the main difference between them is the context with which they're used: the categorical imperative is used to formulate absolute moral commands, whereas the hypothetical imperative doesn't. Actions carried out using the categorical imperative are done for the sake of one's duty and this is what makes an action moral. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page | 1 ...read more.

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