Good Life Take-home #2
November 20, 2015
5.) What is the difference between a hypothetical and a categorical imperative?
In class when we had the conversation about chapter two of Immanuel Kant’s Grounding of Morals, we had discussed the imperatives. The imperatives are broken down into two sections, hypothetical imperative and categorical imperative each having different meanings.
Hypothetical imperative is described as a “command that a particular action is necessary as a means to some purpose, such as the attainment of personal happiness” (Kant). As we discussed in class if one desires ‘x’, one ought to do ‘y’. An example of this would be if you want to play lacrosse well, you ought to practice daily. Hypothetical imperative meets desire of personal maxim. A maxim is a personal rule, a principle severed as motivation. Hypothetical imperatives can be described as repetitive or an obvious occurrences that happens.
Categorical imperative is described as “command that some action is necessary in and of itself” (Kant). As we discussed in class if one ought to do ‘z’, one ought to do ‘w’. An example of this would be you ought not to kill another person. This can be broken down further by diving into the meaning, ‘ought’ means without sufficient reason and ‘kill’ can be thought of as wantly. Categorical imperative has no desire component and it is also irrational to break them. An example that was given in class for the categorical imperative is if everyone had a maxim of copy from your neighbor, then no one would start to write because they would all wait for the person next to them. There are three formulations for categorical imperative, first the principle of consistency, “always ...
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...ill, he compares unhappiness to pain and happiness to pleasure. He goes on to say that ‘pleasure’ is measured in eight different ways. They are as followed duration, intensity, fecundity, purity, propinquity, extent, probability and finally quality of pleasure. Pleasure through Mill’s eyes is the only intrinsically good thing in the universe. Intrinsically good means a good in and of itself, simply because it is and it is something viewed as consistent.
Overall, the principle of unity can be seen as the golden rule of how to live our lives equal through Mill’s eyes. We have to think of our actions as promoting happiness to others around us.
Kant, Immanuel. "Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals." SparkNotes. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. .
Mill, John Stuart. "Utilitarianism." On Liberty. N.p., 1863. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. .
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