ideal

An ideal is a principle or value that one actively pursues as a goal, usually in the context of ethics. Ideals are particularly important in ethics, as the order in which one places them tends to determine the degree to which one reveals them as real and sincere. It is the application, in ethics, of a universal. It is roughly similar to the relative intrinsic values. Someone who claims to have an ideal of honesty but is willing to lie to protect a friend is demonstrating that not only does he hold friendship as an ideal, but, that it is a more important one than honesty. Thus ideals can be seen to be similar to values. However, the -ism of ideals is slightly contrasted with idealism (which is the doctrine that ideas, or thought, make up either the whole or an indispensable aspect of any full reality, so that a world of material objects containing no thought either could not exist as it is experienced, or would not be fully “real.”)

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