Saints, Heroes and Moral Necessity

Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:105-124 (2015)
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Abstract

Many people who perform paradigmatic examples of acts of supererogation claim that they could not have done otherwise. In this paper I will argue that these self-reports from moral exemplars present a challenge to the traditional view of supererogation as involving agential sacrifice. I will argue that the claims made by moral exemplars are plausibly understood as what Bernard Williams calls a ‘practical necessity’. I will then argue that this makes it implausible to view these acts as involving agential sacrifice.

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Alfred Archer
Tilburg University

Citations of this work

Supererogation, Sacrifice, and the Limits of Duty.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):333-354.
Supererogation.Alfred Archer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3):e12476.
Aesthetic Supererogation.Alfred Archer & Lauren Ware - 2017 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (1):102-116.
Exemplars and expertise: what we cannot learn from saints and heroes.Alfred Archer & Matthew Dennis - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Self-interest and the Concept of Self-sacrifice.Mark Carl Overvold - 1980 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):105-118.
Moral Incapacity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 93:59-70.
Practical necessity.Bernard Williams - 1982 - In Donald MacKenzie MacKinnon, Brian Hebblethwaite & Stewart R. Sutherland (eds.), The Philosophical Frontiers of Christian Theology: Essays Presented to D.M. Mackinnon. Cambridge University Press.
IV*—Moral Incapacity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 93 (1):59-70.

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