categorical imperative


Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to categorical imperative: hypothetical imperative, utilitarianism

categorical imperative

n.
In the philosophical system of Immanuel Kant, the requirement on any moral law that it apply unconditionally and equally to all rational beings.

categorical imperative

n
(Philosophy) (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

categor′ical imper′ative


n.
the rule of Immanuel Kant that one's actions should be capable of serving as the basis of universal law.
[1820–30]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.categorical imperative - the moral principle that behavior should be determined by duty
moral principle - the principle that conduct should be moral
References in classic literature ?
Neither did Kant when he devised the Categorical Imperative.
The categorical imperative (CI) shows in each case what we have to do to avoid the failure to be moved by a law endorsed by our own will--to avoid, that is, the failure to act for reasons.
We can and must reconnect with the categorical imperative of business: Create growth.
For Kant the commands of morality are categorical imperatives; in fact, there is only one such command (which can be given at least three different formulations), and so he calls it the categorical imperative (G 416).
For example, in a one-shot prisoner's dilemma game one might be tempted to induce cooperative behavior by appealing to the categorical imperative.
10) Lacan thus highlights the ways in which Kant's categorical imperative is analogous to perversion, defined by psychoanalysis as the pathological fixation of enjoyment that persists within the post-Oedipal economy of drive-satisfaction (that is, within the symbolic order).
The libertarian nonaggression principle is but one implication of the undeniable categorical imperative that proper ways to resolve disputes ought to be determined by argumentation or argumentatively validated methods among the parties to a dispute.
Yet Stephen Engstrom's excellent recent book, The Form of Practical Knowledge: A Study of the Categorical Imperative (Harvard University Press 2009), demonstrates that there are still fresh, illuminating ways to think about the general form of the categorical imperative and its law of nature variant.
This section will consider an ethical analysis of the living will according to the first and second formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative.
He contends that Kant's notion of the categorical imperative is a (social-) contractualist (pace Rousseau) "conception of rationality as universal agreement, or what is acceptable as a universal law" (230).
In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, any secret would constitute an exception that invalidates the categorical imperative, to act such that one's action could become the maxim for a universal moral law.
Yet, notwithstanding a superficial plausibility, the categorical imperative proves inadequate as a basis for ethical universality.