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  1. Are Acts of Supererogation Always Praiseworthy?Alfred Archer - 2016 - Theoria 82 (3):238-255.
    It is commonly assumed that praiseworthiness should form part of the analysis of supererogation. I will argue that this view should be rejected. I will start by arguing that, at least on some views of the connection between moral value and praiseworthiness, it does not follow from the fact that acts of supererogation go beyond what is required by duty that they will always be praiseworthy to perform. I will then consider and dismiss what I will call the Argument from (...)
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  2. Motivational Judgement Internalism and The Problem of Supererogation.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:601-621.
    Motivational judgement internalists hold that there is a necessary connection between moral judgments and motivation. There is, though, an important lack of clarity in the literature about the types of moral evaluation the theory is supposed to cover. It is rarely made clear whether the theory is intended to cover all moral judgements or whether the claim covers only a subset of such judgements. In this paper I will investigate which moral judgements internalists should hold their theory to apply to. (...)
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  3. Moral Obligation, Self-Interest and The Transitivity Problem.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (4):441-464.
    Is the relation ‘is a morally permissible alternative to’ transitive? The answer seems to be a straightforward yes. If Act B is a morally permissible alternative to Act A and Act C is a morally permissible alternative to B then how could C fail to be a morally permissible alternative to A? However, as both Dale Dorsey and Frances Kamm point out, there are cases where this transitivity appears problematic. My aim in this paper is to provide a solution to (...)
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  4. Supererogation, Sacrifice, and the Limits of Duty.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):333-354.
    It is often claimed that all acts of supererogation involve sacrifice. This claim is made because it is thought that it is the level of sacrifice involved that prevents these acts from being morally required. In this paper, I will argue against this claim. I will start by making a distinction between two ways of understanding the claim that all acts of supererogation involve sacrifice. I will then examine some purported counterexamples to the view that supererogation always involves sacrifice and (...)
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  5. The Supererogatory and How Not To Accommodate It: A Reply to Dorsey.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):179-188.
    It is plausible to think that there exist acts of supererogation. It also seems plausible that there is a close connection between what we are morally required to do and what it would be morally good to do. Despite being independently plausible these two claims are hard to reconcile. My aim in this article will be to respond to a recent solution to this puzzle proposed by Dale Dorsey. Dorsey's solution to this problem is to posit a new account of (...)
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  6. Saints, Heroes and Moral Necessity.Alfred Archer - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:105-124.
    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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  7. Supererogation and Intentions of the Agent.Alfred Archer - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (2):447-462.
    It has been claimed, by David Heyd, that in order for an act to count as supererogatory the agent performing the act must possess altruistic intentions (1982 p.115). This requirement, Heyd claims, allows us to make sense of the meritorious nature of acts of supererogation. In this paper I will investigate whether there is good reason to accept that this requirement is a necessary condition of supererogation. I will argue that such a reason can be found in cases where two (...)
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  8. Aesthetic Supererogation.Alfred Archer & Lauren Ware - 2017 - Estetika 54 (1):102-116.
    Many aestheticians and ethicists are interested in the similarities and connections between aesthetics and ethics (Nussbaum 1990; Foot 2002; Gaut 2007). One way in which some have suggested the two domains are different is that in ethics there exist obligations while in aesthetics there do not (Hampshire 1954). However, Marcia Muelder Eaton has argued that there is good reason to think that aesthetic obligations do exist (Eaton 2008). We will explore the nature of these obligations by asking whether acts of (...)
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  9. Intentions, Motives and Supererogation.Claire Benn - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.
    Amy saves a man from drowning despite the risk to herself, because she is moved by his plight. This is a quintessentially supererogatory act: an act that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Beth, on the other hand, saves a man from drowning because she wants to get her name in the paper. On this second example, opinions differ. One view of supererogation holds that, despite being optional and good, Beth’s act is not supererogatory because she is not (...)
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  10. Supererogation, Optionality and Cost.Claire Benn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2399-2417.
    A familiar part of debates about supererogatory actions concerns the role that cost should play. Two camps have emerged: one claiming that extreme cost is a necessary condition for when an action is supererogatory, while the other denies that it should be part of our definition of supererogation. In this paper, I propose an alternative position. I argue that it is comparative cost that is central to the supererogatory and that it is needed to explain a feature that all accounts (...)
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  11. The Enemy of the Good: Supererogation and Requiring Perfection.Claire Benn - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (3):333-354.
    Moral theories that demand that we do what is morally best leave no room for the supererogatory. One argument against such theories is that they fail to realize the value of autonomy: supererogatory acts allow for the exercise of autonomy because their omissions are not accompanied by any threats of sanctions, unlike obligatory ones. While this argument fails, I use the distinction it draws – between omissions of obligatory and supererogatory acts in terms of appropriate sanctions – to draw a (...)
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  12. Supererogatory Spandrels.Claire Benn - 2017 - Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics 19 (1):269-290.
    Standing in San Marco Cathedral in Venice, you immediately notice the exquisitely decorated spandrels: the triangular spaces bounded on either side by adjoining arches and by the dome above. You would be forgiven for seeing them as the starting point from which to understand the surrounding architecture. To do so would, however, be a mistake. It is a similar mistaken inference that evolutionary biologists have been accused of making in assuming a special adaptive purpose for such biological features as fingerprints (...)
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  13. What is Wrong with Promising to Supererogate.Claire Benn - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (1):55-61.
    There has been some debate as to whether or not it is possible to keep a promise, and thus fulfil a duty, to supererogate. In this paper, I argue, in agreement with Jason Kawall, that such promises cannot be kept. However, I disagree with Kawall’s diagnosis of the problem and provide an alternative account. In the first section, I examine the debate between Kawall and David Heyd, who rejects Kawall’s claim that promises to supererogate cannot be kept. I disagree with (...)
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  14. Supererogation and Offence: A Conceptual Scheme for Ethics.R. M. Chisholm - 1963 - Ratio (Misc.) 5 (1):1.
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  15. Too Much Morality.Stephen Finlay - 2007 - In Paul Bloomfield (ed.), Morality and Self-Interest. Oxford University Press.
    This paper addresses the nature and relationship of morality and self-interest, arguing that what we morally ought to do almost always conflicts with what we self-interestedly ought to do. The concept of morality is analyzed as being essentially and radically other-regarding, and the category of the supererogatory is explained as consisting in what we morally ought to do but are not socially expected to do. I express skepticism about whether there is a coherent question, ‘Which ought I all things considered (...)
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  16. Why Proximity Matters for the Concept of Supererogation.Simone Grigoletto - 2017 - Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics 19 (1):291-307.
    The concept of supererogation is strictly correlated with duty, since its peculiar value is defined by acts that go beyond our regular obligations. This paper highlights the importance of proximity (relational closeness) in allowing the proper theoretical space to supererogation. As a matter of fact if we broaden our sense of duty, the possibility to perform supererogatory acts correspondingly decreases. Special obligations emphasize how difficult acts of supererogation are to perform if we stand in some morally-relevant special position with the (...)
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  17. Supererogation and the Limits of Moral Obligations. Guest Editor’s Preface.Simone Grigoletto - 2017 - Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics 19 (1):221-224.
    Do moral obligations include all the good that can be possibly achieved? Does every instance of the good always entail obligatory performance? Supererogation is a moral concept that tries to address this claim, by pointing out the existence of a category of morally relevant good acts that go beyond the call of duty. Paradigmatic examples of this category of acts are represented by deeds of heroism and sanctity, where the agent is sacrificing herself in order to benefit the others in (...)
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  18. Epistemic Supererogation and its Implications.Trevor Hedberg - 2014 - Synthese 191 (15):3621-3637.
    Supererogatory acts, those which are praiseworthy but not obligatory, have become a significant topic in contemporary moral philosophy, primarily because morally supererogatory acts have proven difficult to reconcile with other important aspects of normative ethics. However, despite the similarities between ethics and epistemology, epistemic supererogation has received very little attention. In this paper, I aim to further the discussion of supererogation by arguing for the existence of epistemically supererogatory acts and considering the potential implications of their existence. First, I offer (...)
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  19. Supererogation: Its Status in Ethical Theory.David Heyd - 1982 - Cambridge University Press.
    David Heyd's study will stimulate philosophers to recognise the importance of the rather neglected topic of the distinctiveness of supererogation and the ...
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  20. The Suberogation Problem for Zhong’s Confucian Virtue Theory of Supererogation.Tsung-Hsing Ho - forthcoming - Philosophy East and West.
    The supererogation problem is that a virtue theory of right action faces difficulty in distinguishing between obligation and supererogation. Lei Zhong (2016) proposes a Confucian virtue theory of supererogation, which solves the supererogation problem nicely. Nevertheless, I argue that Zhong’s theory runs into the suberogation problem.
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  21. Finlay's Radical Altruism.Gerald Hull - manuscript
    The question “Why should I be moral?” has long haunted normative ethics. How one answers it depends critically upon one’s understanding of morality, self-interest, and the relation between them. Stephen Finlay, in “Too Much Morality”, challenges the conventional interpretation of morality in terms of mutual fellowship, offering instead the “radical” view that it demands complete altruistic self-abnegation: the abandonment of one’s own interests in favor of those of any “anonymous” other. He ameliorates this with the proviso that there is no (...)
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  22. Virtue Theory, Ideal Observers, and the Supererogatory.Jason Kawall - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):179-96.
    I argue that recent virtue theories (including those of Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton) face important initial difficulties in accommodating the supererogatory. In particular, I consider several potential characterizations of the supererogatory modeled upon these familiar virtue theories (and their accounts of rightness) and argue that they fail to provide an adequate account of supererogation. In the second half of the paper I sketch an alternative virtue-based characterization of supererogation, one that is grounded in the attitudes of virtuous ideal observers, and (...)
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  23. On Promising to Supererogate: A Response to Heyd.Jason Kawall - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (2):153-156.
    In my “Promising and Supererogation” I argue that one cannot fulfill promises to perform supererogatory actions (such as “I hereby promise to perform one supererogatory action every month”). In a response to my paper, David Heyd argues that there is an alternative solution to the problem I raise. While I agree with much that Heyd says about the examples he discusses, his proposed solution involves a crucial alteration of the problem; his proposed solution does not solve the problem I present.
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  24. Promising and Supererogation.Jason Kawall - 2005 - Philosophia 32 (1-4):389-398.
    A paradox involving promises to perform supererogatory actions is developed. Several attempts to resolve the problem, focusing in particular on changing our understanding of supererogatory actions, are explored. It is concluded that none of the proposed solutions are viable; the problem lies in promises with certain contents, not in our understanding of supererogation.
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  25. Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Many of us think we have agent-centred options to act suboptimally. Some of these involve favouring our own interests. Others involve sacrificing them. In this paper, I explore three different ways to accommodate agent-centred options in a criterion of objective permissibility. I argue against satisficing and rational pluralism, and in favour of a principle built around sensitivity to personal cost.
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  26. How Supererogation Can Save Intrapersonal Permissivism.Han Li - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Rationality is intrapersonally permissive just in case there are multiple doxastic states that one agent may be rational in holding at a given time, given some body of evidence. One way for intrapersonal permissivism to be true is if there are epistemic supererogatory beliefs – beliefs that go beyond the call of epistemic duty. Despite this, there has been almost no discussion of epistemic supererogation in the permissivism literature. This paper shows that this is a mistake. It does this by (...)
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  27. A Theory of Epistemic Supererogation.Han Li - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):349-367.
    Though there is a wide and varied literature on ethical supererogation, there has been almost nothing written about its epistemic counterpart, despite an intuitive analogy between the two fields. This paper seeks to change this state of affairs. I will begin by showing that there are examples which intuitively feature epistemically supererogatory doxastic states. Next, I will present a positive theory of epistemic supererogation that can vindicate our intuitions in these examples, in an explanation that parallels a popular theory of (...)
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  28. Moral Norms, Moral Ideals and Supererogation.Piotr Machura - 2013 - Folia Philosophica 29:127--159.
    The aim of the paper is to investigate the relations between the basic moral categories, namely those of norms, ideals and supererogation. The subject of discussion is, firstly, the ways that these categories are understood; secondly, the possible approaches towards moral acting that appear due to their use; and thirdly, their relationship within the moral system. However, what is of a special importance here is the relationship between the categories of norms and ideals (or in a wider aspect — laudable (...)
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  29. The Good, the Bad, and the Obligatory.James Edwin Mahon - 2006 - Journal of Value Inquiry 40 (1):59-71.
    In this article I reject the argument of Colin McGinn ("Must I Be Morally Perfect?", 1992) that ordinary morality requires that each of us be morally perfect. McGinn's definition of moral perfection –– according to which I am morally perfect if I never do anything that is supererogatory, but always do what is obligatory, and always avoid doing what is impermissible –– should be rejected, because it is open to the objection that I am morally perfect if I always do (...)
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  30. Praise, Blame, Obligation, and DWE: Toward a Framework for the Classical Conception of Supererogation and Kin.Paul McNamara - 2011 - Journal of Applied Logic 9 (2):153–170.
    Continuing prior work by the author, a simple classical system for personal obligation is integrated with a fairly rich system for aretaic (agent-evaluative) appraisal. I then explore various relationships between definable aretaic statuses such as praiseworthiness and blameworthiness and deontic statuses such as obligatoriness and impermissibility. I focus on partitions of the normative statuses generated ("normative positions" but without explicit representation of agency). In addition to being able to model and explore fundamental questions in ethical theory about the connection between (...)
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  31. Supererogation, Inside and Out: Toward an Adequate Scheme for Common Sense Morality.Paul McNamara - 2011 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume I. Oxford University Press. pp. 202-235.
    The standard analysis of supererogation is that of optional actions that are praiseworthy to perform, but not blameworthy to skip. Widespread assumptions are that action beyond the call is at least necessarily equivalent to supererogation ("The Equivalence") and that forgoing certain agent-favoring prerogatives entails supererogation (“The Corollary”). I argue that the classical conception of supererogation is not reconcilable with the Equivalence or the Corollary, and that the classical analysis of supererogation is seriously defective. I sketch an enriched conceptual scheme, “Doing (...)
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  32. Must I Do What I Ought (or Will the Least I Can Do Do)?Paul McNamara - 1996 - In Mark Brown & Jose' Carmo (eds.), Deontic Logic, Agency and Normative Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. pp. 154-173.
    Appears to give the first model-theoretic account of both "must" and "ought" (without conflating them with one another). Some key pre-theoretic semantic and pragmatic phenomena that support a negative answer to the main title question are identified and a conclusion of some significance is drawn: a pervasive bipartisan presupposition of twentieth century ethical theory and deontic logic is false. Next, an intuitive model-theoretic framework for "must" and "ought" is hypothesized. It is then shown how this hypothesis helps to explain and (...)
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  33. All Reasons Are Moral.Daniel Muñoz - manuscript
    I argue that the distinction between moral (“deontic”) and non-moral (“enticing”) reasons is a bogus one, and that “reasons first” approaches to ethics can’t account for the optionality of prudent self-care (flossing one’s teeth) or supererogatory gifts (of favors and kidneys). Non-moral reasons are, by definition, those that can’t ground moral obligations, even when unopposed by other reasons. But all reasons can ground obligations. When our unopposed reasons of self-interest, e.g., leave things optional, that isn’t due to a lack of (...)
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  34. Transitivity, Moral Latitude, and Supererogation.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-13.
    On what I take to be the standard account of supererogation, an act is supererogatory if and only if it is morally optional and there is more moral reason to perform it than to perform some permissible alternative. And, on this account, an agent has more moral reason to perform one act than to perform another if and only if she morally ought to prefer how things would be if she were to perform the one to how things would be (...)
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  35. Adopting Roles: Generosity and Presumptuousness.Rowland Stout - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:141-161.
    Generosity is not the same thing as kindness or self-sacrifice. Presumptuousness is incompatible with generosity, but not with kindness or self-sacrifice. I consider a kind but interfering neighbour who inappropriately takes over the role of mother to my daughter; her behaviour is not generous. Presumptuousness is the improper exercise of a disposition to adopt a role that one does not have. With this in mind I explore the idea that generosity is the proper exercise of the disposition to adopt a (...)
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  36. Supererogation, Wrongdoing, and Vice: On the Autonomy of the Ethics of Virtue.Gregory W. Trianosky - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):26-40.
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