Download An Iron Age II Pictorial Inscription from Jerusalem by Garth Gilmour PDF

By Garth Gilmour

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Even if we think that overall he did the right thing, we could still think of his course of action as immoral in the way that acts of dirty hands are at once immoral and justified: the immoral part of the justified whole is a remainder which is properly taken up in certain moral-emotional ways. Perhaps, however, abandoning his family was unjustified even on the broader understanding of morality. Even so, we might admire his not giving up his painting. This would be to admire what is immoral. We could reverse the structure of dirty hands and hold that the Gauguin case involves a whole which is immoral but which contains an admirable remainder.

After all, one could instead be helping those in need. In such circumstances either painting would have to be unjustified or duty can be overridden by other moral considerations. 24 It is not my duty to act supererogatorily. But I may do so. If the supererogatory act includes the duty—as in going the second mile, where the first is required—I have an option either simply to do my duty or to do it and also the supererogatory (part of the) act. This is a simple option. But some supererogatory acts also create a contrary-to-duty option—a moral option not to do one's duty.

In Goods and Virtues,22 Michael Slote argues that this is possible—that there can be cases of admirable immorality. He does not argue for what he calls the strong thesis that ‘immoral behaviour as such may (sometimes) be admirable’ (GV, 79). Nor does he argue for the weak thesis that trades on the fact that we may sometimes admire certain aspects of immoral actions or find people admirable for traits whose possession makes them more likely to act wrongly. According to this weaker thesis, we may admire a robber for his daring while deploring his criminal tendencies.

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