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.
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Origin of categorical imperative
First recorded in 1820–30
Words nearby categorical imperative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for 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 endsCompare 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