Dictionary.com

categorical imperative

Save This Word!

noun
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.
QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is commonly used with other verbs to express intention?

Origin of categorical imperative

First recorded in 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use categorical imperative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for categorical imperative

categorical imperative

noun
(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
FEEDBACK