Moral Saints, Moral Monsters, and the Mirror Thesis

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