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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 95, Issue 4, Fall 2021

Bernard G. Prusak
Pages 679-700

Conscience and Conscientiousness in Linda Zagzebski’s Exemplarist Moral Theory

Linda Zagzebski’s exemplarist moral theory takes as its foundation “exemplars of goodness identified directly by the emotion of admiration.” This paper’s basic question is whether Zagzebski’s trust in the emotion of admiration is well-founded. In other words, do we have good reason to trust that those we admire on conscientious reflection warrant our admiration, such that we will not be led astray? The paper’s thesis is that Zagzebski’s theory would be stronger with a more fully developed account of conscience. The paper outlines and discusses Zagzebski’s theory, articulates the epistemic challenge that the theory confronts, and proposes a sketch of an account of conscience that supplements Zagzebski’s account of conscientiousness.

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