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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is an exploration of the psychological, ethical, and epistemic dimensions of sainthood. It begins by looking at the discontinuities between the saintly life and the life of ordinary virtue. The transition from ordinary life to saintly life requires certain interior transformations, but these are not merely moral but epistemic shifts, involving a change in how one’s fellow human beings are perceived. The saint is not just one who behaves better, but one who has a more vivid awareness of the vulnerability he or she shares with others (an awareness that is signally lacking in secular conceptions of heroic virtue such as that found in Nietzsche). The chapter concludes by asking how far the epistemic transformations required for sainthood presuppose a theistic framework for understanding the human condition.

Keywords: sainthood, epistemic transformation, vulnerability, theistic framework, virtue

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