Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
In “Saints and Heroes,” J. O. Urmson (1958) defines moral saints by reference to their supererogatory actions. He believes that saintly actions are praiseworthy but not obligatory. However, Andrew Flescher (2003) and Tom Dougherty (2017) argue that people have duties to improve themselves morally and to increase how much they sacrifice for others gradually. In this paper, I will propose an Aristotelian-inspired definition of “saint” and discuss the moral duties of saints and ordinary people (i.e., people who are not saints) based on Dougherty’s dynamic view of beneficence. I hold that ordinary people have prima facie duties to become saints, although not everyone has an all-things-considered duty to do so. For the few people with all-things-considered duties to become saints, failing these duties can be morally wrong yet not blameworthy. In many cases, ordinary people like us lack the standing to blame them.
Wang, Ruyu (Evelyn), "Exploring Moral Saints" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1923.