Moral Saints, Moral Monsters, and the Mirror Thesis

American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2):163 - 176 (2009)
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Abstract

A number of philosophers have been impressed with the thought that moral saints and moral monsters—or, evil people, to put it less sensationally—“mirror” one another, in a sense to be explained. Call this the mirror thesis. The project of this paper is to cash out the metaphorical suggestion that moral saints and evil persons mirror one other and to articulate the most plausible literal version of the mirror thesis. To anticipate, the most plausible version of the mirror thesis implies that evil persons mirror moral saints insofar as the characters of each are marked by similar aretaic properties: suffering from extremely vicious character traits—in a sense to be explained—suffices for being evil whereas possessing extremely virtuous character traits similarly suffices for moral sainthood.

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Peter Brian Barry
Saginaw Valley State University

Citations of this work

Evil and Its Opposite.Todd Calder - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):113-130.
Evil and moral detachment: further reflections on The Mirror Thesis.Alfred Archer - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (2):201-218.
Extremity of Vice and the Character of Evil.Peter Brian Barry - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:25-42.
In defense of the mirror thesis.Peter Brian Barry - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):199-205.

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