Recently, the idea that every hypothetical imperative
must somehow be "backed up" by a prior categorical imperative has gained a certain influence among Kant's interpreters and ethicists influenced by Kant.
In contrast, the Kantian hypothetical imperative
would state the following: "If you break into the proverbial Coke machine, you rotten immoral person, then you are going to have to pay some very serious damages for your destruction of private property.
This gives us what Kant calls the hypothetical imperative
or principle of instrumental reason.
The universality of rules or the categorical imperative, versus the "if, then" situation of hypothetical imperative
is discussed and adds Kant's "practical imperative" and "kingdom of ends" as an ideal state of affairs, where one treats oneself and others as an end and not merely as a means.
6) Ellington refers to the common English names for the various formulas of the categorical imperative in his notes; see also Simon Blackburn, "categorical / hypothetical imperative
," in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 56-57, for the five forms.
Therefore, knowing what the hypothetical imperative
says does not tell one what to do unless one desires the end for which it indicates the means.
The underlying idea of the hypothetical imperative
is that one cannot consistently have A as end, believe that B is the only means to A, and intend not to undertake B.
It derives from the philosophical theory that morality is a form of hypothetical imperative
4) A hypothetical imperative
is not universally valid; rather, it "is valid only under a subjectively contingent condition" (G 416).
All rules of this sort can be seen as embedded in another hypothetical imperative
in which the expressed aim is the promotion of human health and the tacit assumption is that the aim o the Laudan-type imperative is an instance of promoting health.
In the first case, practical reasoning transforms the desire into a maxim by selecting a hypothetical imperative
that matches the desired outcome with an appropriate action.
Papineau's response is not to deny the existence of such norms of judgment but rather to deny their sui generis character; "truth-seeking," for example, is a hypothetical imperative
founded upon prior moral or personal values.