The Supererogatory, and How to Accommodate It

Utilitas 25 (3):355-382 (2013)
Dale Dorsey
University of Kansas
Many find it plausible to posit a category of supererogatory actions. But the supererogatory resists easy analysis. Traditionally, supererogatory actions are characterized as actions that are morally good, but not morally required; actions that go the call of our moral obligations. As I shall argue in this article, however, the traditional analysis can be accepted only by a view with troubling consequences concerning the structure of the moral point of view. I propose a different analysis that is extensionally correct, avoids the problems of the traditional view, and, incidentally, also defuses any objection to act-consequentialism, or any other first-order moral theory, on grounds that it cannot accommodate the supererogatory
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S095382081200060X
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: 37,193
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Are Moral Reasons Morally Overriding?Douglas W. Portmore - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):369-388.
Virtue Theory, Ideal Observers, and the Supererogatory.Jason Kawall - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):179-96.
For Utilitarianism.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4).

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Saints, Heroes and Moral Necessity.Alfred Archer - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:105-124.
Supererogation, Sacrifice, and the Limits of Duty.Alfred Archer - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):333-354.
Moral Status and Agent-Centred Options.Seth Lazar - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (1):83-105.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Self-Regarding Supererogatory Actions.Jason Kawall - 2003 - Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (3):487–498.
Supererogatory Forgiveness.Espen Gamlund - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6):540-564.
Promising and Supererogation.Jason Kawall - 2005 - Philosophia 32 (1-4):389-398.
Virtue Theory, Ideal Observers, and the Supererogatory.Jason Kawall - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):179-96.
Supererogation for Utilitarianism.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4):299 - 319.
Aquinas and the Obligations of Mercy.Shawn Floyd - 2009 - Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (3):449-471.
Against God's Moral Goodness.Joseph L. Lombardi - 2005 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2):313-326.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
117 ( #55,120 of 2,309,030 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #106,441 of 2,309,030 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature