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Facing Moral Complexity. The Role of Moral Excellence in Guiding Moral Judgment

Simone Grigoletto


Post-modern societies have been marked by an increasing diversity of ideas on how to live a good life. As the current debate on normative ethics shows, this trait has opened up the field to various pluralist moral accounts. Accordingly, a phenomenological analysis of the agent’s first-person experience discloses the manifold moral sources that can guide his or her choices. This pluralism needs further characterization. In this paper, I introduce a distinction between axiological pluralism (the set of moral values) and methodological pluralism (the heterogeneity of moral reasoning). This distinction discloses a well-known problem: how can the agent recognize the moral reasons for one’s action in such a moral structure? I argue in favor of the traditional role of phrónesis. In particular, I emphasize how moral excellence (as highlighted by the contemporary debate on the concept of supererogation and recent works on moral exemplarism) can provide a valuable source of the formation and the enhancement of moral judgment.


Moral judgment; exemplars; supererogation; pluralism; moral complexity

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