Deeds without value

Abstract
In his ethical writings Peter Abelard declared the accomplishment of good deeds irrelevant to a person’s merit. Also, he denied that acts had any moral value in themselves. The article argues that both theses are contradicted by the purport of Abelard’s ethical teaching. If the opportunity to act is present, good intentions must be followed by good deeds in order not to lose their meritorious character. Moreover, the intrinsic morality of intended acts determines the morality of human intentions, whereas the moral evaluation of these acts determines whether consenting to them is sinful. Good acts can become neutral or bad on account of improper intentions, but evil deeds always retain their evil character. In the early-twentieth-century debate on Abelard’s alleged moral subjectivism, both sides appear to have been at fault to a certain degree. Those who charged Abelard with subjectivism mistook his theses on the indifference of human actions for the essence of his ethical teaching. Those who defended Abelard against the said charge have pointed to his use of objective criteria of right and wrong either with regard to intentions or with regard to deeds. In the first case, they did not notice that Abelard’s notion of objectively right or wrong intentions implies a judgment on the intrinsic moral value of material deeds; in the second case, they failed to account for the inconsistency with Abelard’s theses on the moral indifference of human actions
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2143/RTPM.70.1.978
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 33,142
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Easier Said Than Done: Socratic Courage and the Fear of Death.Ioannis Evrigenis - 2007 - History of Political Thought 28 (3):379-401.
Collective Guilt and Responsibility Some Reflections.Lilian Alweiss - 2003 - European Journal of Political Theory 2 (3):307-318.
The Unfinished Story of Central European Dissidence.Joseph Grim Feinberg - 2008 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2008 (145):47-66.
II. Bennett's Words and Deeds∗.J. E. Llewelyn - 1978 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 21 (1-4):120-129.
Argument and Agreement in Plato's Crito.Melissa S. Lane - 1998 - History of Political Thought 19 (3):313-330.
Words and Deeds.Desmond M. Clarke - 1980 - Philosophical Studies 27:397-398.
Descartes on Indeterminate Judgment and Great Deeds.Keith G. Fennen - 2012 - International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):21-39.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-16

Total downloads
11 ( #463,270 of 2,241,551 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #233,276 of 2,241,551 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature