What might the terms "hero" and "saint" mean? Compare and contrast the hero and the saint, providing examples of each view of life. Are these metaphors "ideal types" that serve as fundamentally distinct ways of living personally and in society (that is, must we choose between them)?
The best definition of the difference between a "hero" and a "saint" comes from Francis Ambrosio in his lecture series "Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life." He writes:
For the hero the meaning of life is honor. For the saint the meaning of life is love. For the hero the goal of living is self-fulfillment, the achievement of personal excellence, and the recognition and admiration that making a signal contribution to one’s society through one’s achievements carries with it. For the saint, life does not so much have a goal, as a purpose, for which each human being is responsible, and that purpose is love, and the bonds of concern and care that responsibility for one’s fellow human beings carry with it. These two paradigms, the hero and the saint, and the way of life that descends from each, are really two fundamentally distinct and genuinely different visions of human society as a whole, and even of what it means to be a human being. They are two distinct and different...
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