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Categorical Imperative
(507 words)

1. Term

I. Kant (1724–1804) used the term “categorical imperative” to designate the absolute character of the moral law. The law must be stated in terms of an imperative, for the human will is not “holy,” that is, not fully in accord with reason (Kantianism). In practical morality the categorical imperative is necessarily and universally valid (i.e., it is an a priori); it is stronger than the “hypothetical imperative” (e.g., the rules of what is apt or the precepts of cleverness), which describes the more limited relat…

Cite this page
Hofmeister, Heimo, “Categorical Imperative”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 24 November 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_C225>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512



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