Maxims

October 3rd, 2010 by in News

Maxims are simple or basic rules that guide action.  They are often easily recognizable and easy to remember.  Folk sayings are examples of maxims.  “A penny saved is a penny earned,” for example, is a maxim which offers a simple rule of frugality.

In philosophy, the term is frequently associated with the moral theory of Immanuel Kant.   In Kant’s deontological ethics, maxims are understood as subjective principles of action.  The maxims ‘Do not kill’ and ‘Do not steal’ are examples of such subjective principles.  Kant’s view is that we should act only according to the maxims that can be regarded as universal laws, that is, we should act only according to the maxims that all people would follow.   This requirement of Kantian theory is known as the Categorical Imperative.

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