Moral Imperative

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  • A categorical imperative that commands that individuals follow basic ethical obligations to themselves and to others. The moral imperative was described by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose work dates back to the late 18th century. The moral imperative is categorical in that an action carries with it an absolute necessity; it is concerned with the morality of a duty to obey innate moral laws, and an innate moral duty is experienced by all through the existence of the conscience and feelings of guilt and shame, which tell us when we violate this moral duty. Furthermore, the moral imperative declares an action to be objectively necessary in itself, without reference to any purpose. The authority of a moral imperative comes from reason rather than experience. Reason ...

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