Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Is there a connection between religion and morality? Ivan Karamazov, in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, famously declares that if God does not exist, then “everything is permitted.” Most philosophers reject such a view and hold that moral truths do not depend on God. God and Moral Obligation argues that the truth lies somewhere between these two claims. It is not quite right to say that there would be nothing left of morality if God did not exist, but moral obligations do depend on God ontologically. Such obligations are best understood as divine commands or requirements, communicated to humans in a variety of ways, including conscience God and Moral Obligation also argues that two views often thought to be rivals to a divine command morality, natural law ethics and virtue ethics, are not rivals at all but provide necessary complementary elements of a comprehensive morality. A number of prominent objections to a divine command account of moral obligations, such as the so-called Euthyphro objection, are posed and answered. In the concluding chapters I point out the advantages a divine command account has over secular rivals, and I argue that those who reject an error theory and want to be moral realists about moral obligations (which is a reasonable view) should be open to a divine command account. The authority and objectivity of moral obligations are best explained by seeing them as divine commands.

Document Type

Book

Access Rights

ERA Access

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