categorical imperative

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categorical imperative:

see Kant, ImmanuelKant, Immanuel
, 1724–1804, German metaphysician, one of the greatest figures in philosophy, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Early Life and Works
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categorical imperative


Categorical Imperative


a term introduced by the German philosopher I. Kant to designate the basic law, or rule, of his ethics. It has two formulations: “So act that you can will the maxim of your conduct to be a universal law” (Sock, vol. 4, part 1, Moscow, 1965, p. 260) and “So act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in another, always as an end and never only as a means” (ibid, p. 270). The first of these expresses the formal conception of ethics that is characteristic of Kant, and the second places limitations on this formalism. According to Kant, the categorical imperative is a universal principle obligatory for all men, which must guide everyone, regardless of origin or social position. The abstract and formal nature of the categorical imperative was criticized by Hegel.

In discussing the postulates of Kant’s ethics, K. Marx and F. Engels wrote that Kant “made the materially motivated determinations of will of the French bourgeois into pure self-determinations of the ‘free will’, of the will in and for itself, of the human will, and so converted it into purely ideological conceptual determinations and moral postulates” (Sock, 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 184).


Williams, T. C. The Concept of the Categorical Imperative. Oxford, 1968.
References in periodicals archive ?
We are left with a continuum of ownership scenarios with elements that (1) are introducible as categorical imperatives, (2) are consistent with the survival of mankind, and (3) can be argued for without entailing a performative contradiction.
The other statements of the categorical imperative include that known as the "formula of the law of nature" (421); that known as the "formula of the end-in-itself" (429); that known as the "formula of autonomy" (431); and that know as the formula of the "kingdom of ends" (433).
Tarasoff is in danger, the act of violating confidentiality cannot pass the categorical imperative test of action.
This is because a model of this type undermines the standard arguments that purport to show that all categorical imperatives can be reduced to hypothetical ones.
Our moral duties correspond to the reasons formulated in categorical imperatives, those that apply to us independently of whatever inclinations we have.
Needless to say, counting noses is not the proper way to identify categorical imperatives or to resolve disputed questions generally--including questions about the proper way to resolve a particular dispute.
A categorical imperative is an a priori statement, formulated by pure reason whose motive is usually imposed by duty.
In "Kantian Rationalism: Inescapability, Authority, and Supremacy," David Brink argues that although Kant's argument from the inescapability of moral requirements qua categorical imperatives is plausible, there is reason to be skeptical of Kant's claim that impartial moral requirements are overriding.
To this end, Lisska explains the Thomistic theory in language intelligible to those untrained in scholastic philosophy and also takes up modern criticisms leveled against Aquinas with respect to his naturalism, his reliance on an outmoded metaphysics of essences, his failure to acknowledge the is/ought distinction, the absence of categorical imperatives, and so forth.
Kant allegedly urges the construction of norms by using categorical imperatives.
In 'Dignity and the Formula of Humanity' (Chapter 6), Oliver Sensen's close readings of several key passages in Section II aim to establish that human beings are (descriptively) ends in themselves in virtue of the freedom of their wills; that we ought (normatively) to treat others as ends in themselves because the Categorical Imperative (i.
This section will consider an ethical analysis of the living will according to the first and second formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative.