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categorical imperative

noun
1.
Ethics. the rule of Immanuel Kant that one must do only what one can will that all others should do under similar circumstances.
2.
the unconditional command of conscience.
Origin of categorical imperative
1820-1830
1820-30
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for categorical imperative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Indeed, the problem is by no means so simple as the use of the categorical imperative would indicate.

    New Homes for Old Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge
  • Here steps in the "categorical imperative" with a vengeance.

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

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

    Rationalism John Mackinnon Robertson
  • The categorical imperative stole on him under a Latin name and without a cross on its back, and he let himself be beguiled by it.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • That was the categorical imperative, and Cecilia believed in it.

    Cecilia F. Marion Crawford
  • There he was dealing with Kantian abstractions again; the categorical imperative came to him instinctively.

  • This is what Kant really means by the categorical imperative.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
British Dictionary definitions for categorical imperative

categorical imperative

noun
1.
(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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