Maxim (philosophy)  

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"Weak people cannot be sincere" --François de La Rochefoucauld

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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

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."

Personal knowledge

Michael Polanyi in his account of tacit knowledge stressed the importance of the maxim in focusing both explicit and implicit modes of understanding. “Maxims are rules, the correct application of which is part of the art they govern....Maxims can only function only within a framework of personal (I.e.experiential) knowledge”.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Maxim (philosophy)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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