University College Dublin
A supererogatory action is essentially one that is praiseworthy if performed, but not blameworthy if omitted. It is a morally admirable action that goes “beyond the call of duty.” It is the distinctive action that could make a person into a saint or a hero. But, as Aquinas originally recognised, it seems paradoxical to think of something as good and yet somehow not (fully) required. Equally paradoxical is the fact that the supererogatory actor typically conceives of their action in terms of necessity (Martin Luther) or duty (the fire fighter “only doing their job”), even though they might deny that it was a universal necessity or duty. The concept has a long tradition in Catholic theology, but the contemporary secular discussion of supererogation in English-language philosophy began with Urmson’s 1958 essay ‘Saints and Heroes’. There is a certain overlap with recent discussions of virtue ethics. And the question of supererogation has also been relevant to other philosophical debates, such as those on the nature of forgiveness, altruism, toleration and love, as well as those about moral perception, moral psychology and moral reasons.
We welcome papers from any philosophical tradition, as well as theological papers that will be intelligible to a philosophical audience. Papers should be of between 6-8,000 words long (incl. notes and bibliography), and should include a 150-word abstract. They should be in PDF or RTF or Word format, and suitable for blind review. The strict submission deadline is 1 February 2014. For submission, you must register first through the Easy Chair conference website:
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