Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (1):65-74 (2020)

Bryan Smyth
University of Mississippi
Agents’ self-reports in cases of reactive heroism often deny the optionality, and hence the supererogatory status, of their actions, while conversely supporting a view of these actions in terms of nonselfsacrificial existential necessity. Taking such claims seriously thus makes it puzzling as to why such cases elicit strong approbation. To resolve this puzzle, I show how this necessity can be understood in the predispositional embodied terms of unreflective ethical expertise, such that the agent may be said literally to incarnate generally accepted norms of a shared ethical environment. On this basis I argue that the object of the relevant approbation is the agent’s embodied predispositionality itself—expressing a deep continuity with her social context, it is in virtue of this alone that her action can be both spontaneous and ethically outstanding. By way of conclusion I briefly discuss how this suggests an important categorial distinction between heroism and saintism.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview20203618
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,343
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

Heroic Drucker.Jean-Etienne Joullié & Robert Spillane - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 128 (1):95-105.
On Sacrificial Heroism.Adam Lankford - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (5):634-654.
Moral Heroism and the Requirement Claim.Kyle Fruh - 2014 - Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):93-104.
An Excess of Excellence: Aristotelian Supererogation and the Degrees of Virtue.Maria Silvia Vaccarezza - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):1-11.
Heroism and History in Merleau-Ponty’s Existential Phenomenology.Bryan Smyth - 2010 - Continental Philosophy Review 43 (2):167-191.
Who Dares, Wins.Susan Kelly & R. I. M. Dunbar - 2001 - Human Nature 12 (2):89-105.
Heroism In Literature: A Semiotic Model.Ibrahim Taha - 2002 - American Journal of Semiotics 18 (1/4):107-126.
Supererogation, Imperfect Duty and the Structure of Moral Action.Jon J. Scott - 1995 - Dissertation, University of Ottawa (Canada)


Added to PP index

Total views
16 ( #640,615 of 2,445,338 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #457,131 of 2,445,338 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes