Denying the Suberogatory

Philosophia 40 (2):395-402 (2012)
Julia Driver has argued that there is a special set of actions, lodged between neutral actions and wrongful actions called suberogatory actions. These actions are not impermissible, according to Driver, but still strike us as troubling or bad, and are therefore worse than morally neutral (1992). Since this paper was written 20 years ago, many philosophers have utilized or alluded to this moral territory. The existence of some action-types that are not wrong but still carry some dis-value has become a staple in the realm of moral evaluation. However, Driver's argument for the existence of this moral territory amounts to three types of moral cases that, according to Driver, can only be explained by the existence of the suberogatory. In this short paper, I will respond by saying that we can account for these cases using our traditional notions of moral neutrality and moral wrongness. The temptation of invoking the suberogatory is that it can be used as a substitute for answering a variety of hard ethical questions. However appealing this substitute may be, we should resist it so long as the problem cases put forward to motivate the new evaluative realm can be handled, and handled well, by our traditional apparatus.
Keywords Suberogatory  Supererogatory  Obligation  Moral evaluation  Gratitude  Abortion
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-011-9343-4
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,433
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
Peter Singer (1972). Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Alan Wertheimer (1996). Exploitation. Princeton University Press.
Judith Jarvis Thomson (1971). A Defense of Abortion. Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Julia Driver (1992). The Suberogatory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (3):286 – 295.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

76 ( #64,021 of 1,924,989 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #187,164 of 1,924,989 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.