Browsing Philosophic Exchange by Subject "Hypothetical Imperative"
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Foot-NotesThe major disagreement here is that Foot, contra Kant, denies that moral ends are ends that the agent has a duty to adopt. Though I, in part, agree with Foot, it is difficult to see what is paradoxical about the view that she denies. Foot’s position is the one that appears paradoxical. Her position is that I may have duties within morality, but I cannot have a duty to adopt the ends of morality. On the contrary, morality is inescapable.
In Defense of the Hypothetical ImperativeKant insisted that moral precepts must be categorical imperatives, telling the agent what he should do, no matter what his desires or interests. Kant contrasted these categorical imperatives with hypothetical imperatives, which operate only on the condition of certain desires or interests. I believe it is a mistake to think that Kant has disposed of the hypothetical imperative in morals. In this paper, I will consider the arguments that he has brought against it, and respond to them.
Mrs. Foot on the Sufficiency of Hypothetical ImperativesThe issue between Mrs. Foot and Immanuel Kant is this: does the reason why one ought to do something always lie in expected, desired consequences, so that the command to do it is hypothetical? Mrs. Foot argues that the answer is “yes,” and that any alternative use of “ought” is unintelligible. I think that her argument for this claim is stronger when it is directed at the intuitionists than when it is directed at Kant. An analogy with logic, which is full of categorical imperatives, supports Kant’s position against Mrs. Foot.