Supererogation, imperfect duty and the structure of moral action.

Title: Supererogation, imperfect duty and the structure of moral action.
Authors: Scott, Jon J.
Date: 1995
Abstract: Traditionally, philosophers have recognized three types of moral actions: the obligatory, the permissible and the prohibited. But this classification cannot account for acts of saintliness or heroism--or indeed of any self-denying good actions which are not obligatory to perform. These actions are termed supererogatory--they are more than duty requires and are accompanied by some specific features, notably that they are done in the interests of others than the moral agent and that they involve costs or risks. If supererogatory acts are accepted as a category of moral action, then the traditional tripartite classification needs to be revised: the categories of obligatory and permissible acts are redistributed in terms of duties, morally neutral actions, offenses, and acts of supererogation. Morally neutral actions are rejected as a separate category of moral value. Duties are divided into those which can be legitimately enforced (imperfect duties) and those which cannot be matched by rights (imperfect duties). Justice involves both types of rights and duties. An account of the full spectrum of moral action recognizes internal and external aspects and justifies the use of aretaic and deontic methods. It includes five types of moral actions: prohibited acts, offenses, perfect duties, imperfect duties and acts of supererogation. This account is relevant to the facts of moral experience. It is compatible with the major theoretical frameworks in ethics, and it is formulable in terms of manageable complexity.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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