Supererogation, Sacrifice, and the Limits of Duty

Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):333-354 (2016)
Authors
Alfred Archer
Tilburg University
Abstract
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 examine their limitations. Next, I will examine how this view might be defended, building on comments by Dale Dorsey and Henry Sidgwick. I will then argue that the view and the argument in favor of it should be rejected. I will finish by showing how an alternative explanation for the limits of moral obligation avoids the problems facing The Sacrifice View.
Keywords supererogation  sacrifice  moral demandingness  moral obligation  normative ethics  moral saints
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12176
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Moral Saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.

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Citations of this work BETA

Supererogation, Optionality and Cost.Claire Benn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2399-2417.
Sporting Supererogation and Why It Matters.Alfred Archer - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (3):359-373.
Supererogation.Alfred Archer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3).

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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