Kant’s accounts of the Highest Good and the moral argument for God and immortality are central features of his philosophy. But both involve lingering puzzles. In this entry, we first explore what the Highest Good is for Kant and the role it plays in a complete account of ethical life. We then focus on whether the Highest Good involves individuals only, or whether it also connects with Kant’s doctrines about the moral progress of the species. In conclusion, we look into (...) three ways of articulating the moral argument for God and immorality that take our commitment to the Highest Good as their point of departure. (shrink)
Each author first presents his own side, and then they interact through two rounds of objections and replies. Pedagogical features include standard form arguments, section summaries, bolded key terms and principles, a glossary, and annotated reading lists.
In this chapter, we will investigate the ramifications of moral knowledge for naturalism (roughly, the view that all that exists is the natural world). Specifically, we will draw attention to a certain problem we face if the world is purely naturalistic. We will then show how theism provides resources for solving this problem. We’ll argue that the fact that we have lots of moral knowledge fi ts better with theism than with naturalism. Specifically, we’ll present reasons to think that (1) (...) naturalists who think we have lots of moral knowledge will have trouble rationally maintaining both their naturalism and their belief that we have such knowledge and (2) theism better explains the fact that we have lots of moral knowledge than naturalism does. (shrink)
The argument and discussion in this paper begins from the premise that Hume was an atheist who denied the religious or theist hypothesis. However, even if it is agreed that that Hume was an atheist this does not tell us where he stood on the question concerning the value of religion. Some atheists, such as Spinoza, have argued that society needs to maintain and preserve a form of “true religion”, which is required for the support of our ethical life. Others, (...) such as D’Holbach have argued that religion is not only false it is pernicious and it should be eradicated. This paper argues that Hume rejected both these proposals, on the ground that they rest, in different ways, on excessively optimistic assumptions. The sensible, practical form of atheism that Hume defends has a more modest and realistic aim, which is simply to restrict and limit the most pernicious forms of religion. Understood this way, Hume’s practical atheism is very different from the forms of “old” atheism associated with Spinoza and D’Holbach, as well as from the “new atheism” of thinkers such as Dawkins and Dennett. -/- Reprinted in Paul Russell, "Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy: Selected Essays" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021): 340-383. (shrink)
Some people are deeply dissatisfied by the universe that modern science reveals to us. They long for the world described by traditional religion. They do not believe in God, but they wish He had existed. I argue that this is a mistake. The naturalist world we inhabit is admittedly rather bleak. It is very far from being the best of all possible worlds. But an alternative governed by God is also unwelcome, and the things that might make God’s existence attractive—cosmic (...) justice or the afterlife—could also be had without God. The most desirable of all possible worlds are therefore godless. (shrink)
This paper will examine the problem of suffering as it arises from both moral and natural evil through a Christian philosophical and theological perspective. Suffering throughout our planet is pervasive. We all experience it in one form or another. In western culture, we are bombarded, through the media with the terrible tragedies that occur in our home country and abroad. Inevitably we ask ourselves, the following question, as Professor Ramon Martinez, probes into his book, Sin and Evil, “Why does God (...) permit suffering?” In order to address the question of suffering and its relation to the God of Christianity, we must understand what suffering is and how it affects humanity. (shrink)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...) Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
Evolutionary game theory is ethically neutral: its assumption of ‘rationality’ has nothing to do with selfishness but is in fact entirely compatible with altruism. If altruism has an evolutionary explanation then this fact is of no theological relevance: in particular it is not any sort of evidence of a divine plan etc.
In this paper we critically evaluate an argument put forward by William Lane Craig for the existence of God based on the assumption that if there were no God, there could be no objective morality. Contrary to Craig, we show that there are some necessary moral truths and objective moral reasoning that holds up whether there is a God or not. We go on to argue that religious faith, when taken alone and without reason or evidence, actually risks undermining morality (...) and is an unreliable source of moral truths. We recommend a viewpoint on morality that is based on reason and public consensus, that is compatible with science, and that cuts across the range of religious and non-religious positions. (shrink)
This article provides a survey of types of moral arguments for the existence of God. The article begins by defending this type of arguments against some common criticisms, and then distinguishes practical moral arguments from theoretical moral arguments, before looking at the strengths and weaknesses of various versions of each type. The philosophers who are discussed include Immanuel Kant, Philip Quinn, Robert Adams, and George Mavrodes. The article defends the claim that such arguments can be an important part of a (...) cumulative case for theism. (shrink)
Scholars have long debated the relationship between Kant’s doctrine of right and his doctrine of virtue (including his moral religion or ethico-theology), which are the two branches of his moral philosophy. This article will examine the intimate connection in his practical philosophy between perpetual peace and the highest good, between political and ethico-religious communities, and between the types of transparency peculiar to each. It will show how domestic and international right provides a framework for the development of ethical communities, including (...) a kingdom of ends and even the noumenal ethical community of an afterlife, and how the transparency and trust achieved in these communities is anticipated in rightful political society by publicity and the mutual confidence among citizens that it engenders. Finally, it will explore the implications of this synthesis of Kant’s political and religious philosophies for contemporary Kantian political theories, especially those of Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls. (shrink)
Many believe that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. I maintain that there are sui generis objective ethical facts that do not reduce to natural or supernatural facts. On my view, objective morality does not require an external foundation of any kind. After explaining my view, I defend it against a variety of objections posed by William Wainwright, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland.
In this paper I outline an argument for the existence of God. This argument suggests that, if an all-good supernatural agent were to exist, such as the God of Theism, then He could not perform an immoral act. From this premise alone a formal proof for the existence of God can be derived. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when this argument is examined closely it is revealed to be fallacious. However, what we find is that the fallacy involves a special type of equivocation; (...) one that illustrates the difference between non-truth-functional subjunctive conditionals and truth-functional material conditionals. (shrink)
This paper is a reply to Graham Oppy’s “Maydole’s 2QS5 Argument,” published in Philo 7, 2 (2004). I argue that he fails to refute myModal Perfection Argument for the existence of a Supreme Being, and that it remains arguably sound in the face of his alleged counterexamples and parodies.
Moral arguments were the type of theistic argument most characteristic of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More recently they have become one of philosophy’s abandoned farms. The fields are still fertile, but they have not been cultivated systematically since the latest methods came in. The rambling Victorian farmhouse has not been kept up as well as similar structures, and people have not been stripping the sentimental gingerbread off the porches to reveal the clean lines of argument. This paper is (...) intended to contribute to the remedy of this neglect. It will deal with quite a number of arguments, because I think we can understand them better if we place them in relation to each other. This will not leave time to be as subtle, historically or philosophically, as I would like to be, but I hope I will be able to prove something more than my own taste for Victoriana. (shrink)