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categorical imperative

Ethics. the rule of Immanuel Kant that one must do only what one can will that all others should do under similar circumstances.
the unconditional command of conscience.
Origin of categorical imperative
First recorded in 1820-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for categorical imperative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here steps in the "categorical imperative" with a vengeance.

  • A vocation was a "categorical imperative" to the soul, and there was no mistaking its presence.

    Passing By Maurice Baring
  • Kant gave us a guiding rule with his categorical imperative.

    Friedrich Nietzsche Georg Brandes
  • Kant, categorical imperative, 86.Good-will only real good, 85-86.

  • The ‘categorical imperative,’ as propounded by him, is a form of self-deception.

    Rationalism John Mackinnon Robertson
  • That was the categorical imperative, and Cecilia believed in it.

    Cecilia F. Marion Crawford
  • This is what Kant really means by the categorical imperative.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
  • And the philosopher of the ‘categorical imperative’ miscarries as instructively as does the soldier of divine will.

    Rationalism John Mackinnon Robertson
British Dictionary definitions for categorical imperative

categorical imperative

(in the ethics of Kant) the unconditional moral principle that one's behaviour should accord with universalizable maxims which respect persons as ends in themselves; the obligation to do one's duty for its own sake and not in pursuit of further ends Compare hypothetical imperative
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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