Only a rational being has the power to act in accordance with his idea of
laws – that is in accordance with principles – and only so he has a will.
But what do these principles result in (in other words, what form does
Principles necessitate the will (again, not the feelings or the body,
since these are beyond our control in a way) in the form of a
command, an Imperative.
What is the form of the imperative? It is “you ought (not) to…”
At this point, Kant distinguishes between two kinds of
The first is that of Hypothetical imperatives:
They have the form “if you want X, you ought to Y.”
They provide the means to a certain end.
For example, the maxim/imperative “you should have a healthy
For Kant, all the sciences deal with hypothetical imperatives. (“if you want the
fever to go down you have to take some aspirin,” “if you want to increase common
utility you have to help others.”
But morality cannot be composed of Hypothetical imperativ