Maxim (philosophy)

Maxim (philosophy)

A maxim is a ground rule or subjective principle of action; in that sense, a maxim is a thought that can motivate individuals.

Maxim - Generally any simple and memorable rule or guide for living, for example 'neither a borrower nor a lender be'. Tennyson speaks of 'a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart (Locksley Hall), and maxims have generally been associated with a 'folksy' or 'copy-book' approach to morality.[1]


Deontological ethics

In deontological ethics maxims are understood as a subjective principle of action. An act is called moral if it has a certain universal value. In Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative, for instance, the maxim is combined with a certain intention to become moral. The moral intent is that one can, at the same time, will the subjective principle of action to become a universal law.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."[2]

See also


  1. ^ Oxford dictionary of Philosophy, Maxim (Oxford University Press 2008) p. 226
  2. ^ Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington [1785] (1993). Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals 3rd ed.. Hackett. pp. 30. ISBN 0-87220-166-x. 

External links

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