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The Variety of ValuesEssays on Morality, Meaning, and Love$
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Susan Wolf

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332803.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2021

Moral Saints

Moral Saints

(p.11) 2 Moral Saints
The Variety of Values

Susan Wolf

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks us to consider what a morally perfect person—a moral saint—would be like. It offers models of moral sainthood drawn from commonsense morality, from Kantian moral theory, and from utilitarianism, and concludes that none of them are unequivocally, much less supremely, appealing. After considering and rejecting the idea that we should broaden or revise the content of morality so as to generate a more attractive model of moral sainthood, it concludes that we should instead reject the idea that we ought universally to aspire to be as morally good as possible. Because there are important values other than those of morality and self-interest, other personal ideals are as choiceworthy as that of moral sainthood. An adequate moral theory must recognize this and thus must make use of the concept of supererogation.

Keywords:   moral saint, moral perfection, supererogation, utilitarianism, Kantian moral theory, commonsense morality, personal ideals

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