Problems of supererogation
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My main thesis is twofold: I will account first for the difference between problems of supererogation, and then for their relatedness. First, I will claim that it is very likely that there is no one problem of supererogation, but rather a family of problems of supererogation. Secondly, I will claim that the problems of supererogation are related due to the fact that they present conflicts between various aspects of supererogation and one particular view about morality, a view that I will call the “legalistic” view of morality or “morality of law”. Therefore, a first step in my approach of the problem of supererogation will be to show that what has been considered as “the” problem of supererogation consists, rather, in a multitude of problems intricately linked. The second and the third chapters of the thesis will be concerned with this enterprise, of differentiating between various kinds of problems of supererogation. A second step will be to show that most problems of supererogation are connected because they are engendered by an opposition to a particular view of morality. This will be the main point of the fourth chapter. My position will be that whenever a moral theory has adopted (explicitly or not) a legalistic view of morality, that theory will become a hostile environment for the concept of supererogation. I will end by proposing some hypotheses about what could be a more welcoming theoretical environment for supererogation, namely by proposing “morality of virtue” as a likely candidate.