Journal of Value Inquiry 40 (1):59-71 (2006)

Authors
James Mahon
Lehman College (CUNY)
Abstract
In this article I reject the argument of Colin McGinn ("Must I Be Morally Perfect?", 1992) that ordinary morality requires that each of us be morally perfect. McGinn's definition of moral perfection –– according to which I am morally perfect if I never do anything that is supererogatory, but always do what is obligatory, and always avoid doing what is impermissible –– should be rejected, because it is open to the objection that I am morally perfect if I always do what is optional but bad to do (what is suberogatory), in addition to always doing what is obligatory and always avoiding what is impermissible. Moral perfection may be defined as always doing what is obligatory, and always doing what is optional but good to do (supererogatory), and never doing what is impermissible, and never doing what is optional but bad to do [suberogatory]. Since ordinary morality does not require this, ordinary morality does not require moral perfection.
Keywords McGinn  Obligation  Supererogation  Suberogatory  Ordinary morality  Moral perfection  Optional  Saint  Singer  Thomson
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Reprint years 2007
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DOI 10.1007/s10790-005-5455-z
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References found in this work BETA

Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Permissions and Supererogation.Joseph Raz - 1975 - American Philosophical Quarterly 12 (2):161 - 168.
Our Duties to Animals and the Poor.Colin McGinn - 1999 - In Dale Jamieson (ed.), Singer and His Critics. Blackwell. pp. 150--161.

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Citations of this work BETA

Abortion and the Right to Not Be Pregnant.James Mahon - 2016 - In Allyn Fives & Keith Breen (eds.), Philosophy and Political Engagement: Reflection in the Public Sphere. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 57-77.

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