More on the Arbitrariness Objection to the Divine Command Theory

I’ve been carrying on a conversation with Matthew Flannagan about the arbitrariness objection to the divine command theory. You can find my first post on the issue here and Matt’s response here. In this post I am going to continue my defense, against Flannagan’s objections, of the arbitrariness argument (AA):Either God’s commands are arbitrary or they are grounded in reasons. Arbitrary commands cannot ground moral obligations.  If God’s commands are grounded in reasons, then it is those … [Read more...]

Quentin Smith on Bertrand Russell on “Unyielding Despair” and the Meaning of Life

In his essay, "A Free Man's Worship," Bertrand Russell writes: Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no … [Read more...]

Important New (Advanced but) Must-Read Book on Ethics without God by Erik Wielenberg


Oxford University Press has just published the latest book by Erik Wielenberg, entitled Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Wielenberg's work; his previous books include Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and God and the Reach of Reason: C.S. Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell (Cambridge University Press, 2007).As you would expect … [Read more...]

Matthew Flannagan on The Arbitrariness Objection to Divine Command Ethics

There is a standard objection to the divine command theory (DCT) that runs as follows:Either God’s commands are arbitrary or they are grounded in reasons. Arbitrary commands cannot ground moral obligations. If God’s commands are grounded in reasons, then it is those reasons, rather than God’s commands, that ground moral obligations. Either way, God’s commands are superfluous; they do not ground moral obligations.I’ll call this the Arbitrariness Argument (AA).  You can find versions … [Read more...]

Atheism, Morality, and Divine Nature Theories vs. Ideal Observer Theories

This another item I found while organizing material on my hard drive. I think I am the author, but I am not certain of that. What is the advantage of divine nature theories over ideal observer theories?  Consider, for example, a divine nature theory of moral value.  On such a view, God’s nature, not God, is the source of moral value.  But what is the distinction between God and His nature?  Presumably, God’s nature is simply the collection of God’s properties or attributes (e.g., the property of … [Read more...]

Hard-Hitting Critique of WLC’s Moral Argument by John Danaher “Necessary Moral Truths and Theistic Metaethics”

To be precise, this paper applies to WLC's moral argument for God's existence as follows.1. WLC argues that God exists because objective moral values and duties exist.2. Critics (theist, agnostic, and atheist) of WLC's moral argument have pointed out that, according to one version of moral realism, moral truths are necessary truths. Necessary truths neither have nor need an explanation. Therefore, God isn't needed to explain necessary moral truths and, hence, isn't needed to explain o … [Read more...]

Amoral Atheism Part 2

Physics cannot justify why anything is morally right or wrong. No one says that is a defect of physics because that's not what physics is about.Like physics, atheism is also not about morality. So why should it be a defect of atheism that it cannot justify why anything is morally right or wrong? … [Read more...]

An F-Inductive Moral Argument for Theism

Here is an F-inductive argument for theism based on ontologically objective moral values. Note that this argument assumes that such things exist. If you don't think they exist, then you may want to skip reading this post.As usual, let B be our background information; E be the evidence to be explained (in this case, the existence of ontologically objective moral values); T be theism; and N be naturalism. Here is the explanatory argument.1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1. … [Read more...]