Saintliness and the Moral Life
Drawing on the work of Raimond Gaita, the paper considers the role that may be played by the lives of the saints, both in alerting us to the moral standing of other human beings, and in helping us to articulate the concept of “humanity” understood in a morally rich sense. The paper considers whether Gaita's treatment of these themes presents something like a natural law ethic, in the sense of supplying arguments which favour broadly Christian conclusions without depending upon explicitly Christian premises. It also considers whether Gaita's view, contrary to his own belief, invites extrapolation in the direction of a more religiously engaged stance. In these ways, the paper aims to address the question of the relationship between religious and moral understanding in terms that are arguably more fruitful than those suggested by the dominant ethical theories.