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Siblings:History/traditions: Divine Command Theories
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  1. Robert Adams (2003). Abraham's Dilemma. Finite and Infinite Goods.
    This chapter addresses the greatest fear about divine commands – that God may command something evil – focusing on a modernized version of Genesis 22, in which Abraham finds it difficult to reject any of the following jointly incompatible beliefs: whatever God commands is not morally wrong to do, God commands me to kill my son as a sacrifice, such human sacrifice is morally wrong. It argues that divine command theorists should not reject but that in any cultural and religious (...)
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  2. Robert Merrihew Adams (1987). Divine Commands and the Social Nature of Obligation. Faith and Philosophy 4 (3):262-275.
    Divine command metaethics is one of those theories according to which the nature of obligation is grounded in personal or social relationships. In this paper I first try to show how facts about human relationships can fill some of the role that facts of obligation aresupposed to play, specifically with regard to moral motivation and guilt. Then I note certain problems that arise for social theories of obligation, and argue that they can be dealt with more adequately by an expansion (...)
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  3. Robert Merrihew Adams (1979). Divine Command Metaethics Modified Again. Journal of Religious Ethics 7 (1):66 - 79.
    This essay presents a version of divine command metaethics inspired by recent work of Donnellan, Kripke, and Putnam on the relation between necessity and conceptual analysis. What we can discover a priori, by conceptual analysis, about the nature of ethical wrongness is that wrongness is the property of actions that best fills a certain role. What property that is cannot be discovered by conceptual analysis. But I suggest that theists should claim it is the property of being contrary to the (...)
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  4. Scott Aikin (2009). A Consistency Challenge for Moral and Religious Beliefs. Teaching Philosophy 32 (2):127-151.
    What should individuals do when their firmly held moral beliefs are prima facie inconsistent with their religious beliefs? In this article weoutline several ways of posing such consistency challenges and offer a detailed taxonomy of the various responses available to someone facing a consistency challenge of this sort. Throughout the paper, our concerns are primarily pedagogical: how best to pose consistency challenges in the classroom, how to stimulate discussion of the various responses to them, and how to relate such consistency (...)
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  5. David E. Alexander (2011). Problems for Moral/Natural Supervenience. Religious Studies 47 (1):73 - 84.
    'Everyone agrees that the moral features of things supervene on their natural features' (Smith (1994), 22). Everyone is wrong, or so I will argue. In the first section, I explain the version of moral supervenience that Smith and others argue everyone should accept. In the second section, I argue that the mere conceptual possibility of a divine command theory of morality (DCT) is sufficient to refute the version of moral supervenience under consideration. Lastly, I consider and respond to two objections, (...)
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  6. David E. Alexander (2010). Problems for Moral/Natural Supervenience: DAVID E. ALEXANDER. Religious Studies 47 (1):73-84.
    ???Everyone agrees that the moral features of things supervene on their natural features??? , 22). Everyone is wrong, or so I will argue. In the first section, I explain the version of moral supervenience that Smith and others argue everyone should accept. In the second section, I argue that the mere conceptual possibility of a divine command theory of morality is sufficient to refute the version of moral supervenience under consideration. Lastly, I consider and respond to two objections, showing, among (...)
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  7. Michael J. Almeida (2004). Supervenience and Property-Identical Divine-Command Theory. Religious Studies 40 (3):323-333.
    Property-identical divine-command theory (PDCT) is the view that being obligatory is identical to being commanded by God in just the way that being water is identical to being H2O. If these identity statements are true, then they express necessary a posteriori truths. PDCT has been defended in Robert M. Adams (1987) and William Alston (1990). More recently Mark C. Murphy (2002) has argued that property-identical divine-command theory is inconsistent with two well-known and well-received theses: the free-command thesis and the supervenience (...)
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  8. Mariam Attar (2010). Islamic Ethics: Divine Command Theory in Arabo-Islamic Thought. Routledge.
    This book explores philosophical ethics in Arabo-Islamic thought.
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  9. Robert Audi (2007). Divine Command Morality and the Autonomy of Ethics. Faith and Philosophy 24 (2):121-143.
    This paper formulates a kind of divine command ethical theory intended to comport with two major views: that basic moral principles are necessary truths and that necessary truths are not determined by divine will. The theory is based on the possibility that obligatoriness can be a theological property even if its grounds are such that the content of our obligations has a priori limits. As developed in the paper, the proposed divine command theory is compatible with the centrality of God (...)
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  10. Michael W. Austin (2006). Divine Command Theory. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  11. Robert Burch (1980). Objective Values and the Divine Command Theory of Morality. New Scholasticism 54 (3):279-304.
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  12. Richard Brian Davis & W. Paul Franks (2015). Counterpossibles and the ‘Terrible’ Divine Command Deity. Religious Studies 51 (1):1-19.
    In a series of articles, Wes Morriston has launched what can only be considered a full-scale assault on the divine command theory (DCT) of morality. According to Morriston, proponents of this theory are committed to an alarming counterpossible: that if God did command an annual human sacrifice, it would be morally obligatory. Since only a ‘terrible’ deity would do such a ‘terrible’ thing, we should reject DCT. Indeed, if there were such a deity, the world would be a terrible place—certainly (...)
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  13. David Efird (2009). Divine Command Theory and the Semantics of Quantified Modal Logic. In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 91.
    I offer a series of axiomatic formalizations of Divine Command Theory motivated by certain methodological considerations. Given these considerations, I present what I take to be the best axiomatization of Divine Command Theory, an axiomatization which requires a non-standardsemantics for quantified modal logic.
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  14. Matthew Flannagan (2012). Is Ethical Naturalism More Plausible Than Supernaturalism? A Reply to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Philo 15 (1):19-37.
    In many of his addresses and debates, William Lane Craig has defended a Divine Command Theory of moral obligation (DCT). In a recent article and subsequent monograph, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has criticized Craig’s position.1 Armstrong contended that a DCT is subject to several devastating objections and further contended that even if theism is true a particular form of ethical naturalism is a more plausible account of the nature of moral obligations than a DCT is. This paper critiques Armstrong’s argument. I will (...)
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  15. Scott Hill (2010). Richard Joyce's New Objections to the Divine Command Theory. Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (1):189-196.
    In a 2002 paper for this journal, Richard Joyce presents three new arguments against the Divine Command Theory. In this comment, I attempt to show that each of these arguments is either unpersuasive or uninteresting. Two of Joyce’s arguments are unpersuasive because they rely on an implausible principle or an implausible claim about what counts as a platitude governing use of the term “wrong.” Joyce’s other argument is uninteresting because it is persuasive only if Joyce’s formulation of the Euthyphro Problem (...)
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  16. Jeffery L. Johnson (1994). Procedure, Substance, and the Divine Command Theory. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 35 (1):39 - 55.
    Natural theology is still practiced as though substantive theological conclusions can be derived by a quasi-deductive process. Perhaps relevant "evidence" may lead to interesting theological conclusions -- the fact of natural evil, or the cosmic fine-tuning we hear about in contemporary cosmology, both cry out for theological explanation. I remain a skeptic, however, about the value of "a priori" methods in natural theology. The case study in this short discussion is the well known attempt to establish the logical incoherence of (...)
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  17. Hardy Jones (1980). Concerning a New Version of the Divine Command Theory of Morality. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):195 - 205.
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  18. Matthew Carey Jordan (2009). Theistic Ethics: Not as Bad as You Think. Philo 12 (1):31-45.
    Critics of theological accounts of the nature of morality have argued that such accounts must be rejected, even by theists, because such accounts (i) have the unacceptable implication that nothing is morally wrong in possible worlds in which atheism is true, (ii) render the substantive content of morality arbitrary, and (iii) make it impossible or redundant to attribute moral properties to God or God’s actions. I argue that none of these criticisms constitute good reason for theists to abandon theological accounts (...)
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  19. Kavka Martin & Rashkover Randi (2004). A Jewish Modified Divine Command Theory. Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (2):387 - 414.
    We claim that divine command metaethicists have not thought through the nature of the expression of divine love with sufficient rigor. We argue, against prior divine command theories, that the radical difference between God and the natural world means that grounding divine command in divine love can only ground a formal claim of the divine on the human; recipients of revelation must construct particular commands out of this formal claim. While some metaethicists might respond to us by claiming that this (...)
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  20. Jason Kawall (2005). Moral Realism and Arbitrariness. Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):109-129.
    In this paper I argue (i) that choosing to abide by realist moral norms would be as arbitrary as choosing to abide by the mere preferences of a God (a difficulty akin to the Euthyphro dilemma raised for divine command theorists); in both cases we would lack reason to prefer these standards to alternative codes of conduct. I further develop this general line of thought by arguing in particular (ii) that we would lack any noncircular justification to concern ourselves with (...)
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  21. Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star (2011). On Good Advice: A Reply to McNaughton and Rawling. Analysis 71 (3):506-508.
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  22. Daniel Layman (2014). Accountability and Parenthood in Locke's Theological Ethics. History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (2):101-118.
    According to John Locke, the conditions of human happiness establish the content of natural law, but God’s commands make it morally binding. This raises two questions. First, why does moral obligation require an authority figure? Second, what gives God authority? I argue that, according to Locke, moral obligation requires an authority figure because to have an obligation is to be accountable to someone. I then argue that, according to Locke, God has a kind of parental authority inasmuch as he is (...)
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  23. Yong Li (2006). The Divine Command Theory of Mozi. Asian Philosophy 16 (3):237 – 245.
    In this study, I will examine the famous 'divine command theory' of Mozi. Through the discussion of several important chapters of Mozi, including Fayi (law), Tianzhi (the will of heaven), Minggui (knowing the spirits) and Jianai (universal love), I attempt to clarify the arguments of Mozi offered in support of his distinctive ideas of serving heaven, knowing the spirits and loving all. The analysis shows that there are serious problems with his assumptions, hence they fail to support his conclusions as (...)
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  24. R. Zachary Manis (2009). Kierkegaard and Divine-Command Theory: Replies to Quinn and Evans. Religious Studies 45 (3):289-307.
    One of the most important recent developments in the discussion of Kierkegaard's ethics is an interpretation defended, in different forms, by Philip Quinn and Stephen Evans. Both argue that a divine-command theory of moral obligation (DCT) is to be found in "Works of Love". Against this view, I argue that, despite significant overlap between DCT and the view of moral obligation found in "Works of Love", there is at least one essential difference between the two: the former, but not the (...)
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  25. T. J. Mawson (2002). God's Creation of Morality. Religious Studies 38 (1):1-25.
    In this paper, I argue that classical theists should think of God as having created morality. In form, my position largely resembles that defended by Richard Swinburne. However, it differs from his position in content in that it evacuates the category of necessary moral truth of all substance and, having effected this tactical withdrawal, Swinburne's battle lines need to be redrawn. In the first section, I introduce the Euthyphro dilemma. In the second, I argue that if necessary moral truths are (...)
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  26. Blake McAllister (2016). Divine Command Theory and Moral Supervenience. Philosophia Christi 18 (1):65-78.
    Mark Murphy argues that the property identity version of divine command theory, coupled with the doctrine that God has freedom in commanding, violates the supervenience of the moral on the nonmoral. In other words, they permit two situations exactly alike in nonmoral facts to differ in moral facts. I give three arguments to show that a divine command theorist of this sort can consistently affirm moral supervenience. Each argument contends that there are always nonmoral differences between worlds with different divine (...)
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  27. Thaddeus Metz (2008). God, Morality and the Meaning of Life. In Samantha Vice & Nafsika Athanassoulis (eds.), The Moral Life. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 201--227.
    In this chapter, I critically explore John Cottingham's most powerful argument for the thesis that the existence of God is necessary for meaning in life. This is the argument that life would be meaningless without an invariant morality, which could come only from God. After demonstrating that Cottingham's God-based ethic can avoid not only many traditional Euthyphro meta-ethical concerns, but also objections at the normative level, I consider whether it can entail the unique respect in which morality is normative, and, (...)
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  28. Christian Miller (2016). In Defense of a Supernatural Foundation to Morality: Reply to Shermer. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences:91-96.
    In my original paper, I claimed that our moral obligations are real, objective, and grounded in the supernatural. In particular, I endorsed the claim that God's will is the basis or source of our moral obligations, where “God” is to be understood as the theistic being who is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, who created the universe, and who is still actively involved in the universe after creating it. In his critical article, Michael Shermer has raised a number of important challenges (...)
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  29. Christian Miller (2016). Morality is Real, Objective, and Supernatural. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences:74-82.
    This paper is part of a six paper exchange with Michael Shermer. Section one explains how “God” is meant to be understood. Section two then introduces the position that morality depends in some way upon God. Section three turns to some of the leading arguments for this view. Finally, we will conclude with the most powerful challenge to this approach, namely what has come to be called the Euthyphro Dilemma.
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  30. Christian Miller (2016). On Shermer On Morality. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences:63-68.
    This paper is part of a six paper exchange with Michael Shermer. This is my critical commentary on Michael Shermer's paper “Morality is real, objective, and natural.” Shermer and I agree that morality is both real and objective. Here I raise serious reservations about both Shermer's account of where morality comes from and his account of what morality tells us to do. His approach to the foundations of morality would allow some very disturbing behaviors to count as moral, and his (...)
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  31. Christian Miller, Berlin Heather & Shermer Michael (2016). The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice, and Human Nature. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences:39-56.
    Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge, moderated a discussion with philosopher Christian Miller, neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and historian of science Michael Shermer to examine our moral ecology and its influence on our underlying assumptions about human nature.
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  32. Wes Morriston (2009). What If God Commanded Something Terrible? A Worry for Divine-Command Meta-Ethics. Religious Studies 45 (3):249-267.
    If God commanded something that was obviously evil, would we have a moral obligation to do it? I critically examine three radically different approaches divine-command theorists may take to the problem posed by this question: (1) reject the possibility of such a command by appealing to God's essential goodness; (2) avoid the implication that we should obey such a command by modifying the divine-command theory; and (3) accept the implication that we should obey such a command by appealing to divine (...)
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  33. Mark C. Murphy (2002). A Trilemma for Divine Command Theory. Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):22-31.
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  34. Matthew B. O'Brien (2012). The Second-Person Perspective in Aquinas's Ethics: Virtues and Gifts. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  35. Susan Peppers-Bates (2008). Divine Simplicity and Divine Command Ethics. International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (3):361-369.
    In this paper I will argue that a false assumption drives the attraction of philosophers to a divine command theory of morality. Specifically, I suggest the idea thatanything not created by God is independent of God is a misconception. The idea misleads us into thinking that our only choice in offering a theistic ground for morality is between making God bow to a standard independent of his will or God creating morality in revealing his will. Yet what is God is (...)
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  36. Karl Pfeiffer (1992). Towards a Relocation of the Divine Command Theory. Cogito 6 (2):67-69.
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  37. Philip L. Quinn (1992). The Primacy of God's Will in Christian Ethics. Philosophical Perspectives 6:493-513.
  38. Bruce Reichenbach (1984). The Divine Command Theory and Objective Good. In Rocco Porreco (ed.), Georgetown Symposium on Ethics. University Press of America. pp. 219-233.
    I reply to criticisms of the divine command theory with an eye to noting the relation of ethics to an ontological ground. The criticisms include: the theory makes the standard of right and wrong arbitrary, it traps the defender of the theory in a vicious circle, it violates moral autonomy, it is a relic of our early deontological state of moral development. I then suggest how Henry Veatch's view of good as an ontological feature of the world provides a context (...)
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  39. Brian Ribeiro & Scott Aikin (2013). Skeptical Theism, Moral Skepticism, and Divine Commands. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (2):77-96.
    Over the last twenty-five years skeptical theism has become one of the leading contemporary responses to the atheological argument from evil. However, more recently, some critics of skeptical theism have argued that the skeptical theists are in fact unwittingly committed to a malignant form of moral skepticism. Several skeptical theists have responded to this critique by appealing to divine commands as a bulwark against the alleged threat of moral skepticism. In this paper we argue that the skeptical theists’ appeal to (...)
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  40. Paul Rooney (1995). Divine Commands and Arbitrariness. Religious Studies 31 (2):149 - 165.
    According to the divine command theory of morality, what is right or wrong, good or bad, is entirely dependent on the will and command of God: what He commands is right and what He forbids is wrong just because He commands or forbids it. It is argued here that the principal religious objection to this theory -- that if it were true, moral precepts would be arbitrary -- is rendered ineffective when due consideration is given to the consequences of God's (...)
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  41. Stephen J. Sullivan (1994). “Why Adams Needs to Modify His Divine-Command Theory One More Time”. Faith and Philosophy 11 (1):72-81.
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  42. Dale Tuggy (2005). Necessity, Control, and the Divine Command Theory. Sophia 44 (1):53-75.
    The simplest Divine Command Theory is one which identifies rightness with being commanded or willed by God. Two clear and appealing arguments for this theory turn on the idea that laws require a lawgiver, and the idea that God is sovereign or omnipotent. Critical examination of these arguments reveals some fundamental principles at odds with the Divine Command Theory, and yields some more penetrating versions of traditional objections to that theory.
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  43. Robert Westmoreland (1996). Two Recent Metaphysical Divine Command Theories of Ethics. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 39 (1):15 - 31.
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  44. Edward Wierenga (1983). A Defensible Divine Command Theory. Noûs 17 (3):387-407.
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