essay on "Moral Saints"t s that tbringsout very harplyfundamentalroblemnmodernmoralphilosophy.Ontheonehand,we want tosay thatmoralitys ofsupremevalue,
alwaystaking precedenceover other grounds of choice, and that whatisnormally best must be absolutely best. On the other hand,ifweconsiderwhat t would be like really tolive inaccordancewith thatcomplete priority fthemoral, thedeal of life thatemergessaptto seem dismally grey and unattractive, s Wolfpersuasivelyargues. I want to present diagnosisof theproblemthatdiffersfromWolf's. Replies to Wolfmightbe offered n behalfof the util-
itarian and Kantian moral theories hat he discusses,but ofthemshallhave little to say. My concern here is to see thatsainthood,not Kant or utilitarianism, eceives ts due.
WHAT ARE SAINTSLIKE?
The first hing to be said is that there re saints-people likeSt.Francis of Assisi and Gandhi and Mother Teresa-and they arequitedifferent romwhat Wolf thinks moral saintwouldbe. Intheend I will conclude that they re not exactly moral saintsinWolf's sense.But she writes bout some of them asiftheywere,anddiscussions of moral sainthood surely owe tothe real saintsmuchoftheirgrip on our attention.So it will be tothepointto
contrast heactuality f sainthood with Wolf's pictureofthe moralsaint.Wolfarguesthatmoral saintswill be"unattractive" 426)be-
causetheywill be lacking in individuality nd in the "abilitytoenjoy the enjoyable in life" (424), and will be so "very,verynice"andinoffensive hat they will have to be dull-witted r humorlessorbland"(422). But the real saints are not like that. t is easier tothinkof St. Francis as eccentric han as lacking inindividuality.Andsaints are not bland. Many have been offended t themforbeing very, very truthful nstead of very, very nice. (Think ofGandhi-or Jesus.) Saints may not enjoy all the same things asotherpeople, and perhaps a few of them have beenmelancholy;but an exceptional capacity for oy is more characteristic f them.
*I wish to thank the CenterofTheological Inquiry, forfellowship upport dur-ingthe writing f thispaper; and MarilynMcCord Adams, forhelpfulcomments nanearlierversion.
8 (August 1982):419-439. Three-digitnumbers n paren-theses n the textrefer opages of Wolf's article.0022-362X/84/8107/0392$01.60
1984 TheJournalofPhilosophy, nc.