Thoughts about Plantinga’s Interesting Paper on “Naturalism, Theism, Obligation, and Supervenience”

I’ve been studying Plantinga’s very interesting paper, “Naturalism, Theism, Obligation, and Supervenience.” (See here for Ex-Apologist’s very brief post about it.) Plantinga’s stated goal is to show that metaphysical naturalism cannot accommodate realism about moral obligation by "displaying the failure of the most natural way of arguing" that metaphysical naturalism can accommodate moral realism, viz., supervenience. There are many things about this paper which I find … [Read more...]

Podcast: Objective morality and atheism; the evil god challenge; risks posed by religion

I did a podcast for Malcontent's Gambit here. It's about 45 mins long. Alan and I got into some interesting topics, including: whether atheists can allow for absolute moral values, my evil god challenge, and the potential dangers posed by religion. … [Read more...]

AdamHazzard’s Quick Parable Comparing Atheistic and Divine Command Theoretic Metaethics

I just read this in the combox on Randal Rauser’s blog. An atheist and a divine-command theorist are approached by someone who says to them, "God is telling me to kill my child. Am I crazy?" The atheist doesn't hesitate. "Yes! You need to seek help immediately!" While the divine-command theorist shuffles his feet and says, "Well, that depends. Is your name Abraham?" Is this parable a fair representation of divine command theory? ETA: I’ve posted this because I like the parable. It … [Read more...]

Herman Phillipse on God, Ethics, and Evolution

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Humanism for Children: A Reply to William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig is right. There has been "a resurgence of interest in arguments for God's existence."  So-called "new atheists" aside, what he fails to mention is that there has also been a resurgence of interest in arguments against God's existence by philosophers like J.L. Schellenberg, Quentin Smith, Paul Draper, Stephen Maitzen, Michael Martin, and many others.   Indeed, Craig's biased, selective summary of recent work in philosophy of religion, like many … [Read more...]

Atheist Ethicist: Morality and God: Is This an Important Question?

Over at The Atheist Ethicist, Alonzo Fyfe asks, "Does it matter if morality is grounded in God or not?"LINK … [Read more...]

Taxonomy of Theistic Meta-Ethics

For years, I've been looking for a taxonomy of theistic meta-ethical theories. Since I have been unable to find one, I've attempted to create one myself. I consider this a work in progress, so if you spot any errors or omissions, please let me know and I will update the post accordingly.Theistic Theories of Deontological Properties (e.g., obligatory, permissible, forbidden)Divine Command Theory (DCT-D): Deontological properties are metaphysically grounded in God's relevant commands. … [Read more...]

The Argument from First-Order Ethical Beliefs for Moral Realism

Definitionsfirst-level moral belief: a belief that something is good or evil or that something is of equal or greater value than something else second-level moral belief: a belief about some or all first-level moral beliefsThe Argument  As far as I can tell, the argument from ordinary language originated with John Post, but has also been defended by Quentin Smith.  The argument begins with the observation that “our first-order ethical beliefs imply that ethical sentences have … [Read more...]

Semantic vs. Ontological Ethical Naturalism vs. Divine Command Theory

Jonathan Berg, in his essay “How could ethics depend on religion?”, notes there are various versions of the ‘Divine Command Theory’ of ethics.  In its strongest form, the Divine Command Theory (DCT) is a theory about the very meaning of words, what Jonathan Harrison has called a linguistic theory.  After describing various problems with the linguistic version of the DCT, Berg then states that divine command theorists might abandon the linguistic version of the DCT in favor of a … [Read more...]

Arguing from Moral Ontology to Theism by Eliminating Nontheistic Alternatives

1. DefintionsMoral ontology is the branch of meta-ethics concerned with the ontology or metaphysics of moral facts and properties.  Within the field of moral ontology, it is a commonplace that the nature of moral facts and properties fall into one of three categories: natural, nonnatural, or supernatural.  Natural facts and properties are those facts and properties studied by the natural and social sciences, including sociology, psychology, and biology.  Supernatural facts and … [Read more...]