Following the Wrong Example: The Exclusiveness of Heroism and Sanctity
Are ordinary moral agents able to follow the moral lead of heroes and saints? In her Exemplarist Moral Theory Linda Zagzebski provided an exemplarist account to morality grounded on admiration. She focused her research on three possible kinds of exemplar: the saint, the hero and the sage. In this paper, I hold that there are at least two possible ways of following an exemplar (inference and strict emulation). Furthermore, I will try to show that when we take morally exceptional agents (in particular heroes and saints) as exemplars to be emulated, some theoretical and normative problems arise. In particular, I will outline the Feasibility Problem, the Non-motivating Admiration Problem and the Distortion of Duty. Given these issues, I suggest an account of supererogation for this moral approach. I argue that this will provide some theoretical advantages for exemplarism, together with a new attention for extraordinary moral acts. The admiration of praiseworthy deeds, similarly to exemplars, can provide valuable moral guidance.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Simone Grigoletto, "Following the Wrong Example: The Exclusiveness of Heroism and Sanctity", in "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/2", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2018, pp. 89-104
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