Professor Urmson on 'Saints and Heroes'

Philosophy 38 (144):160 - 166 (1963)
In a paper entitled ‘Saints and Heroes’ 1 Professor J. O. Urmson has criticised ‘the trichotomy of duties, indifferent actions, and wrongdoing’ , commonly found in moral philosophy, on the ground that it fails to cover an important class of actions, of which saintly and heroic actions are ‘conspicuous” but by no means the only examples. I am inclined to think that this trichotomy is defensible, and that at least it deserves a much longer run for its money than Urmson gives it. The form in which he presents it, however, makes it more implausible than it need be and this is perhaps the main reason why he finds it so indefensible
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