Hypothetical imperative

Kantian philosophical concept; antonym of categorical imperative

A hypothetical imperative is a rule of the form If you want x, then do y. Moral theories may generally have this structure. This means that only those who want x, must do y. Another view is that moral values are not relative to some objective, but are the same for all, that is they are unconditional, or categorical.

The term was coined by Immanuel Kant. Kant said that moral values had to be unconditional, categorical; he wrote a categorical imperative.