Do objective ethical norms need theistic grounding?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Recent Christian reflection on the relation of religion and ethics has focused a great deal on establishing a conception of ethics in which God plays a central role. The numerous attempts to respond to Plato's "Euthyphro Dilemma" and the various defenses of the divine command theory provide two examples of this phenomenon. But much of this ethical reflection has gone on in a way that is largely “defensive.” That is, those engaged in such discussions typically describe an ethical theory which provides God with a central role, and then seek to deflect potentially fatal objections. While there is surely a place for this sort of defensive reflection, these discussions fail to address a deeper and perhaps more pressing question, namely: what positive reasons are there for preferring a religiously grounded ethical theory to the non-religious competitors. Are there argument or considerations, we might wonder, that can explain just why grounding an ethical theory in theism is superior to grounding it non-theistically? And if there are, what would such arguments or considerations look like?
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