Abelard on degrees of sinfulness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Like many of his medieval successors, Peter Abelard offers principles for ranking sins. Moral self-knowledge, after all, requires that we recognize not just our sinfulness, but also the extent of our offense. The most important distinction among sins is that between venial and mortal sins: venial sinners show less contempt and may also be victims of bad moral luck, and so they are far less blameworthy. However, the subjective principle which Abelard uses to protect the venial sinner from blame appears to have absurd consequences: some agents whom we intuitively find saintly turn out to be mortal sinners, while other agents whom we intuitively judge wicked turn out to be mere venial sinners. I argue that Abelard suggests promising replies to these objections, but these replies themselves depend on controversial views about moral psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-270
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
Volume81
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Fingerprint

Sinfulness
Sinners
Peter Abelard
Contempt
Venial Sins
Ranking
Self-knowledge
Mortal Sins
Mortals
Moral Psychology
Medieval Period
Moral Luck
Successor
Offence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Religious studies

Cite this

Abelard on degrees of sinfulness. / Hause, Jeffrey.

In: American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2, 03.2007, p. 251-270.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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