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  1. A Metaphysical Solution to the All-or-Nothing Problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    In this paper, I present a metaphysical solution to the all-or-nothing problem, which rejects the description of the choices in favour of lower-level descriptions.
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  2. Graphomania and the All-or-Nothing Problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    When Milan Kundera introduces the concept of graphomania, he seems to register only two extremes: the person who writes for a few known people and the person who writes for a very large audience. Joe Horton’s all-or-nothing problem provides a way of making sense of this conceptualization of the situation, though in a way that breaks with Kundera’s emphasis on a writer’s craving for audience attention.
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  3. Farewell to Arms? The All-or-Nothing Problem Again.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Joe Horton’s all-or-nothing problem concerns a situation in which it is morally permissible to do nothing and to save two people but not to save only one. This description seems to entail that we should do nothing rather than save only one. I object to Horton’s solution and challenge a principle he draws attention to, which is required to generate the problem but which Horton regards as beyond dispute.
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  4. Note: An Adult Version of the All-or-Nothing Problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I present an example in which the all-or-nothing problem involves adults, rather than children in danger.
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  5. The Flowchart Solution to the All-or-Nothing Problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper presents what I call “the flowchart solution” to Joe Horton’s all-or-nothing problem. Rather than three options – don’t save any child, save one, or save two – there is a flowchart with a choice of don’t save or save, and then within save, save one or save two.
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  6. A Compensatory Solution to the All-or-Nothing Problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    The all-or-nothing problem, formulated by Joe Horton, presents us with a situation in which you can do nothing or save one child or save two. It is dangerous to save any, making doing nothing morally permissible, but there is no extra danger in saving two, so it seems wrong to just save one. But then doing nothing is morally better than saving one. I present a solution in response to this problematic result, which is that doing nothing is not an (...)
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  7. Does the Anthropocene Require Us to Be Saints?Bennett Gilbert - manuscript
    The question of the moral demands that humans, posthumans, and nonhumans in the Anthropocene put up on persons now living generally takes the form of supererogatory demands—that is, moral obligations with a perfectionist structure leading to obligations “above and beyond the call of duty” and extreme individual and collective sacrifice. David Roden construes this by deontology; Toby Ord, following Derek Parfit, by consequentualism. Such obligations are akin to the martyrdom of saints: but must our expectations of the Anthropocene necessarily lead (...)
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  8. 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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  9. What’s the Use of Non-Moral Supererogation?Alfred Archer - forthcoming - In The Springer Handbook of Supererogation. Springer.
    While moral philosophers have paid significant attention to the concept of moral supererogation, far less attention has been paid to the possibility that supererogation may also exist in other areas of normativity. Recently, though, philosophers have begun to consider the possible existence of prudential, epistemic, aesthetic and sporting supererogation. These discussions tend to focus on aspects of our practices in these areas of normativity that suggest an implicit acceptance of the existence of supererogation. In this chapter, I will offer a (...)
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  10. Must We Be Perfect?: A Case Against Supererogation.Megan Fritts & Calum Miller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63.
    In this paper we offer an argument against supererogation and in favour of moral perfectionism. We argue three primary points: 1) That the putative moral category is not generated by any of the main normative ethical systems, and it is difficult to find space for it in these systems at all; 2) That the primary support for supererogation is based on intuitions, which can be undercut by various other pieces of evidence; and 3) That there are better reasons to favour (...)
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  11. Permissiveness in Morality and Epistemology.Han Li & Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Morality is intrapersonally permissive: cases abound in which an agent has more than one morally permitted option. In contrast, there is a dearth of cases in which an agent has more than one epistemically permitted response to her evidence. Given the structural parallels between morality and epistemology, why do sources of moral permissiveness fail to have parallel permissive effects in the epistemic domain? This asymmetry between morality and epistemology cries out for explanation. The paper's task is to offer an answer (...)
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  12. Schofield, Paul. Duty to Self: Moral, Political, and Legal Self-Relation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. Pp. 240. $74.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Ethics.
    Summarizes Schofield's book, sings praises, gives objections.
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  13. Latitude, Supererogation, and Imperfect Duties.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In David Heyd (ed.), Springer Handbook of Supererogation. Springer.
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  14. How Reasons Determine Moral Requirements.Thomas Schmidt - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 18. Oxford, Vereinigtes Königreich:
    Cases of heroic supererogation have been taken to suggest that non-moral reasons are morally relevant. While non-moral reasons are unable to make actions morally required, they can prevent moral reasons from doing so. I argue that non-moral reasons are morally relevant in yet another way, since they can also play an essential role in making it the case that an action is morally required. Even though non-moral reasons are not able themselves to make actions morally required, they can prevent reasons (...)
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  15. Reasons, Competition, and Latitude.Justin Snedegar - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 16. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The overall moral status of an option—whether it is required, permissible, forbidden, or something we really should do—is explained by competition between the contributory reasons bearing on that option and the alternatives. A familiar challenge for accounts of this competition is to explain the existence of latitude: there are usually multiple permissible options, rather than a single required option. One strategy is to appeal to distinctions between reasons that compete in different ways. Philosophers have introduced various kinds of non-requiring reasons (...)
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  16. Weighing Reasons Against.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    Ethicists increasingly reject the scale as a useful metaphor for weighing reasons. Yet they generally retain the metaphor of a reason’s weight. This combination is incoherent. The metaphor of weight entails a very specific scale-based model of weighing reasons, Dual Scale. Justin Snedegar worries that scale-based models of weighing reasons can’t properly weigh reasons against an option. I show that there are, in fact, two different reasons for/against distinctions, and I provide an account of the relationship between the various kinds (...)
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  17. Parity, Moral Options, and the Weights of Reasons.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The (moral) permissibility of an act is determined by the relative weights of reasons, or so I assume. But how many weights does a reason have? Weight Monism is the idea that reasons have a single weight value. There is just the weight of reasons. The simplest versions hold that the weight of each reason is either weightier than, less weighty than, or equal to every other reason. We’ll see that this simple view leads to paradox in at least two (...)
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  18. Supererogatory Duties and Caregiver Heroic Testimony.Chris Weigel - forthcoming - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly.
    Nurses in hard hit cities during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and family caregivers for people with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease present two puzzles. First, traditional accounts of supererogation cannot allow for the possibility of making enormous sacrifices that make one’s actions supererogatory simply to do what morality requires. These caregivers, however, are doing their moral duty, yet their actions also seem to be paradigmatic cases of supererogation. I argue that Dale Dorsey’s new account of supererogation can solve this (...)
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  19. Utilitarianism, Altruism, and Consent.Meacham Christopher - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (1).
    A number of criticisms of Utilitarianism – such as “nearest and dearest” objections, “demandingness” objections, and “altruistic” objections – arise because Utilitarianism doesn’t permit partially or wholly disregarding the utility of certain subjects. A number of authors, including Sider, Portmore and Vessel, have responded to these objections by suggesting we adopt “dual-maximizing” theories which provide a way to incorporate disregarding. And in response to “altruistic” objections in particular – objections noting that it seems permissible to make utility- decreasing sacrifices – (...)
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  20. The Ethics of Partiality.Benjamin Lange - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 1 (8):1-15.
    Partiality is the special concern that we display for ourselves and other people with whom we stand in some special personal relationship. It is a central theme in moral philosophy, both ancient and modern. Questions about the justification of partiality arise in the context of enquiry into several moral topics, including the good life and the role in it of our personal commitments; the demands of impartial morality, equality, and other moral ideals; and commonsense ideas about supererogation. This paper provides (...)
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  21. Supererogation and Conditional Obligation.Daniel Muñoz & Theron Pummer - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1429–1443.
    There are plenty of classic paradoxes about conditional obligations, like the duty to be gentle if one is to murder, and about “supererogatory” deeds beyond the call of duty. But little has been said about the intersection of these topics. We develop the first general account of conditional supererogation, with the power to solve familiar puzzles as well as several that we introduce. Our account, moreover, flows from two familiar ideas: that conditionals restrict quantification and that supererogation emerges from a (...)
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  22. Vocation to Love: Supererogation in Aquinas.James Dominic Rooney - 2022 - International Journal of Systematic Theology 24 (2):156-172.
    Thomas Aquinas’ account of religious vocation has been interpreted as involving a qualified duty, where ordinary people fall short of living up to the moral ideal of becoming a monk or nun. Such an account of religious vocation makes a hash of Aquinas’ thought and misses important aspects of his ethics. Aquinas holds that religious life is praiseworthy, but not morally required, because there are multiple sources of normativity. I conclude by proposing that, while elements of Aquinas’ notion of supererogation (...)
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  23. Rational Supererogation and Epistemic Permissivism.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):571-591.
    A number of authors have defended permissivism by appealing to rational supererogation, the thought that some doxastic states might be rationally permissible even though there are other, more rational beliefs available. If this is correct, then there are situations that allow for multiple rational doxastic responses, even if some of those responses are rationally suboptimal. In this paper, I will argue that this is the wrong approach to defending permissivism—there are no doxastic states that are rationally supererogatory. By the lights (...)
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  24. The Dual Scale Model of Weighing Reasons.Chris Tucker - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):366-392.
    The metaphor of weighing reasons brings to mind a single (double-pan balance) scale. The reasons for φ go in one pan and the reasons for ~φ go in the other. The relative weights, as indicated by the relative heights of the two pans of the scale, determine the deontic status of φ. This model is simple and intuitive, but it cannot capture what it is to weigh reasons correctly. A reason pushes the φ pan down toward permissibility (has justifying weight) (...)
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  25. A Defense of Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2021 - Episteme 18 (2):313–327.
    Permissivism is the view that there are evidential situations that rationally permit more than one attitude toward a proposition. In this paper, I argue for Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism (IaBP): that there are evidential situations in which a single agent can rationally adopt more than one belief-attitude toward a proposition. I give two positive arguments for IaBP; the first involves epistemic supererogation and the second involves doubt. Then, I should how these arguments give intrapersonal permissivists a distinct response to the toggling (...)
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  26. Exploitation and Effective Altruism.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (4):409-423.
    How could it be wrong to exploit—say, by paying sweatshop wages—if the exploited party benefits? How could it be wrong to do something gratuitously bad—like giving to a wasteful charity—if that is better than permissibly doing nothing? Joe Horton argues that these puzzles, known as the Exploitation Problem and All or Nothing Problem, have no unified answer. I propose one and pose a challenge for Horton’s take on the Exploitation Problem.
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  27. From Rights to Prerogatives.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):608-623.
    Deontologists believe in two key exceptions to the duty to promote the good: restrictions forbid us from harming others, and prerogatives permit us not to harm ourselves. How are restrictions and prerogatives related? A promising answer is that they share a source in rights. I argue that prerogatives cannot be grounded in familiar kinds of rights, only in something much stranger: waivable rights against oneself.
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  28. Three Paradoxes of Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):699-716.
    Supererogatory acts—good deeds “beyond the call of duty”—are a part of moral common sense, but conceptually puzzling. I propose a unified solution to three of the most infamous puzzles: the classic Paradox of Supererogation (if it’s so good, why isn’t it just obligatory?), Horton’s All or Nothing Problem, and Kamm’s Intransitivity Paradox. I conclude that supererogation makes sense if, and only if, the grounds of rightness are multi-dimensional and comparative.
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  29. Impermissible yet Praiseworthy.Theron Pummer - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):697-726.
    It is commonly held that unexcused impermissible acts are necessarily blameworthy, not praiseworthy. I argue that unexcused impermissible acts can not only be pro tanto praiseworthy, but overall praiseworthy—and even more so than permissible alternatives. For example, there are cases in which it is impermissible to at great cost to yourself rescue fewer rather than more strangers, yet overall praiseworthy, and more so than permissibly rescuing no one. I develop a general framework illuminating how praiseworthiness can so radically come apart (...)
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  30. Too Far Beyond the Call of Duty: Moral Rationalism and Weighing Reasons.Chris Tucker - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (6):2029-2052.
    The standard account of supererogation holds that Liv is not morally required to jump on a grenade, thereby sacrificing her life, to save the lives of five soldiers. Many proponents defend the standard account by appealing to moral rationalism about requirement. These same proponents hold that Bernie is morally permitted to jump on a grenade, thereby sacrificing his life, to spare someone a mild burn. I argue that this position is unstable, at least as moral rationalism is ordinarily defended. The (...)
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  31. Supererogation and Consequentialism.Alfred Archer - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The thought that acts of supererogation exist presents a challenge to all normative ethical theories. This chapter will provide an overview of the consequentialist responses to this challenge. I will begin by explaining the problem that supererogation presents for consequentialism. I will then explore consequentialist attempts to deny the existence of acts of supererogation. Next, I will examine a range of act consequentialist attempts to accommodate supererogation: including satisficing consequentialism, dual-ranking act consequentialism and an anti-rationalist form of consequentialism. Finally, I (...)
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  32. Other‐Sacrificing Options.Benjamin Lange - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):612-629.
    I argue that you can be permitted to discount the interests of your adversaries even though doing so would be impartially suboptimal. This means that, in addition to the kinds of moral options that the literature traditionally recognises, there exist what I call other-sacrificing options. I explore the idea that you cannot discount the interests of your adversaries as much as you can favour the interests of your intimates; if this is correct, then there is an asymmetry between negative partiality (...)
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  33. Infinite options, intransitive value, and supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2063-2075.
    Supererogatory acts are those that lie “beyond the call of duty.” There are two standard ways to define this idea more precisely. Although the definitions are often seen as equivalent, I argue that they can diverge when options are infinite, or when there are cycles of better options; moreover, each definition is acceptable in only one case. I consider two ways out of this dilemma.
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  34. Review of The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. [REVIEW]Theron Pummer - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):426-429.
    The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy. Edited by Woodruff Paul.
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  35. Intentions, Motives and Supererogation.Claire Benn - 2019 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (1):107-123.
    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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  36. Only Through Complexity. Morality and the Case of Supererogation.Simone Grigoletto - 2019 - Padova University Press.
    This volume deals with some of the major issues in contemporary moral philosophy. The core metaethical argument illuminates the structure of a moral system and emphasizes the importance of a phenomenological attitude toward the moral subject. From this starting point, further questions (typically addressed in normative ethics) arise: “How does moral deliberation work?” “How is moral justification possible?” “What is moral pluralism?” “How do we give an account of supererogatory acts?” Regarding all these questions, the volume works out the following (...)
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  37. The Suberogation Problem for Lei Zhong's Confucian Virtue Theory of Supererogation.Tsung-Hsing Ho - 2019 - Philosophy East and West 69 (3):779-784.
    A virtue-based theory of right action aims to explain deontic moral principles in terms of virtue and vice. For example, it may maintain the following account of moral obligation: It is morally obligatory for an agent A to ϕ in circumstances C if and only if a fully virtuous and relevantly informed person V would characteristically ϕ in C. However, this account faces the so-called supererogation problem. A supererogatory action is an action that is morally praiseworthy but not morally obligatory. (...)
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  38. Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):233-255.
    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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  39. How Supererogation Can Save Intrapersonal Permissivism.Han Li - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):171-186.
    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 arguing that (...)
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  40. What We Owe to Ourselves: Essays on Rights and Supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2019 - Dissertation, MIT
    Some sacrifices—like giving a kidney or heroically dashing into a burning building—are supererogatory: they are good deeds beyond the call of duty. But if such deeds are really so good, philosophers ask, why shouldn’t morality just require them? The standard answer is that morality recognizes a special role for the pursuit of self-interest, so that everyone may treat themselves as if they were uniquely important. This idea, however, cannot be reconciled with the compelling picture of morality as impartial—the view that (...)
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  41. All or Nothing, but If Not All, Next Best or Nothing.Theron Pummer - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (5):278-291.
    Suppose two children face a deadly threat. You can either do nothing, save one child by sacrificing your arms, or save both by sacrificing your arms. Here are two plausible claims: first, it is permissible to do nothing; second, it is wrong to save only one. Joe Horton argues that the combination of these two claims has the implausible implication that if you are not going to save both children, you ought to save neither. This is one instance of what (...)
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  42. Charity and Partiality.Theron Pummer - 2019 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Ethics and the Contemporary World. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 121-132.
    Many of us give to charities that are close to our hearts rather than those that would use our gifts to do more good, impartially considered. Is such partiality to charities acceptable? I argue that if partiality to particular people is justified, we can go SOME distance toward justifying partiality to particular charities. Even so, partiality to charities is justified in fewer cases than most people seem to believe.
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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. Sporting Supererogation and Why It Matters.Alfred Archer - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (3):359-373.
    A commonly accepted feature of commonsense morality is that there are some acts that are supererogatory or beyond the call of duty. Recently, philosophers have begun to ask whether something like supererogation might exist in other normative domains such as epistemology and esthetics. In this paper, I will argue that there is good reason to think that sporting supererogation exists. I will then argue that recognizing the existence of sporting supererogation is important because it highlights the value of sport as (...)
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  47. Aesthetic Supererogation.Alfred Archer & Lauren Ware - 2017 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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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1 — 50 / 83