Heythrop College Publications

Ward, Keith (1970) Moral Seriousness. Philosophy, 45 (172), pp. 114-127. [Journal Article]

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1017/S0031819100009785
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    What is it to be ‘morally serious’? In one sense, it is quite obvious that a man who stands by his moral principles with difficulty and in face of many obstacles, even to the extent of giving his life rather than denying these principles, is a morally serious person. He might be contrasted with a man who gives up or modifies his moral principles whenever their implementation becomes difficult, or threatens to harm his interests; and this person might be called morally frivolous. That is what moral seriousness is; but still, one might ask, what is it to be a morally serious man? What does it involve to be such a man? Is it just a sort of pathological obstinacy; even, perhaps, a misplaced conservatism in face of the facts, which clings to the principles it knows, whatever the cost? One cannot rule out such a possibility. But the martyr and the hero do not consider themselves to be merely obstinate. In the face of risk and even certain suffering, they typically regard it as of supreme importance to be obstinate in sustaining their principles. Something more is felt to be at stake than mere defence of the status quo.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy
    Department: Philosophy
    Depositing User: Mr Mark Sheaves
    Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2012 16:54
    Last Modified: 02 Mar 2012 16:59
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/1644

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