Naturalism, Theism, and Moral Ontology: A Reply to William Lane Craig

Abstract: This paper considers William Lane Craig’s metaethical argument for God’s existence. Roughly, the argument is that the existence of objective moral values provides strong evidence for God’s existence. I consider one by one Craig’s various reasons in support of the argument’s major premise, namely, that objective moral values and the nonexistence of God are at odds with each other. I show that Craig’s supporting arguments play fast and loose with the meaning of objectivity, and that they … [Read more...]

G&T Rebuttal, Part 6: Chapter 7

Metaethics

Chapter 7. Mother Theresa vs. Hitler  In this chapter, G&T present a version of the moral argument for God's existence which I call the "Moral Laws Require a Moral Lawgiver Argument," which they formulate as follows. 1. Every law has a law giver. 2. There is a Moral Law.3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver. Like the earlier arguments, this argument is deductively valid. Like the earlier chapters about this argument, I plan to briefly summarize G&T's defense of … [Read more...]

What Explains God’s Moral Grounding Power? A Problem for Divine Command Ethics

The Divine Command Theory says that God possesses the power to ground or create moral obligations. Let’s call this power, in virtue of which God’s commands ground moral obligations, ‘moral grounding power’ (MG-power).Moral Grounding Power (MG-power): Being B has MG-power if and only if the commands of B ground moral obligationsI want to write about a question that is very natural but that I think is rather difficult for divine command theorists to answer. The question is: In virtue of wha … [Read more...]

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

9780198714323_140

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...]


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