What’s the use of non-moral supererogation?

In The Springer Handbook of Supererogation. Springer (forthcoming)
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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 different kind of defense of non-moral supererogation. I will begin by considering a particular kind of argument made in support of moral supererogation. According to this line of argument, we should accept the existence of moral supererogation because a moral code which makes room for supererogation is likely to be more effective at promoting morally desirable behavior than a moral code which leaves no room for the supererogatory. I will begin by outlining this argument. I will then develop a similar line of argument for prudential, epistemic, aesthetic, and sporting norms.

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Alfred Archer
Tilburg University


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