A Levinasian Reconceptalization of Supererogation
Andrade, Julio A.
Supererogatory acts, as moral acts that go beyond duty, problematise the notions of obligation and autonomy within such impartialist ethical accounts such as Kantianism and utilitarianism which opt to reduce and assimilate supererogation as a result. Bernard Williams’s conception of a moral incapacity challenges the claim that cost to the moral agent, and consequently, autonomy, are necessary to conceptualise supererogation. I extend this finding by adapting Craig Taylor’s idea of a primitive moral response as an attitude that can ground supererogation. However, because such a primitive response is too self-regarding, I argue for a reinscription of such an attitude in terms of a Levinasian moral response. Such a response relies on a reconsidered autonomy that is grounded in the alterity of the Other, but which is incessantly corrected by the presence of the third party to the face to face encounter. I argue for an understanding of such an incessant correction in terms of a Levinasian normativity which as a provisional imperative, can also be thought of as an attitude. I claim that Levinasian normativity is supererogatory and that supererogation can also be reconceptualised as the possibility of sacrifice rather than actual sacrifice.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Julio A. Andrade, "A Levinasian Reconceptalization of Supererogation", in "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2019) XXI/2", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2019, pp. 449-472
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