Tag Archives: Hypothetical

If only

Part of a series which began with Fake news and the ethics of belief.

Last time we looked at how evidence can support a descriptive belief. We will now see if evidence can also support a prescriptive belief.

Take the first on our list:

I ought to do more exercise

Is this a moral imperative, like ‘I must not kill’?

That doesn’t seem right. It is more a ‘pragmatic’ imperative, like ‘I ought to use a Phillips screwdriver on a cross-head screw’.

Phillips screwdriver
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Ifs and buts

Mourning angel, Florence

Mourning angel, Florence

This follows Payback time as number 11 in a series of posts on the Golden Rule. The first was Any fool can make a rule. Next one is Two big ideas.

What is ‘categorical’ about Kant‘s categorical imperative? This is to distinguish it from a hypothetical imperative, for example:

(i) If you want to (or have to) achieve y, then do x.

A categorical imperative would be simply:

(ii) Do x.

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