In Defence of the Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Theory

Sophia 58 (3):381-400 (2019)
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Abstract

Divine command theories come in several different forms but at their core all of these theories claim that certain moral statuses exist in virtue of the fact that God has commanded them to exist. Several authors argue that this core version of the DCT is vulnerable to an epistemological objection. According to this objection, DCT is deficient because certain groups of moral agents lack epistemic access to God’s commands. But there is confusion as to the precise nature and significance of this objection, and critiques of its key premises. In this article, I try to clear up this confusion and address these critiques. I do so in three ways. First, I offer a simplified general version of the objection. Second, I address the leading criticisms of the premises of this objection, focusing in particular on the role of moral risk/uncertainty in our understanding of God’s commands. And third, I outline four possible interpretations of the argument, each with a differing degree of significance for the proponent of the DCT.

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Author's Profile

John Danaher
University College, Galway

Citations of this work

Moral Archetypes - Ethics in Prehistory.Roberto Arruda - 2019 - Terra à Vista - ISBN-10: 1698168292 ISBN-13: 978-1698168296.

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References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism.David Enoch - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Moral realism: a defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Critique of practical reason.Immanuel Kant - 1788 - Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.

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