Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (2):317-340 (2010)

Once God is no longer recognized as the ground and the enforcer of morality, the character and force of morality undergoes a significant change, a point made by G.E.M. Anscombe in her observation that without God the significance of morality is changed, as the word criminal would be changed if there were no criminal law and criminal courts. There is no longer in principle a God's-eye perspective from which one can envisage setting moral pluralism aside. In addition, it becomes impossible to show that morality should always trump concerns of prudence, concerns for one's own non-moral interests and the interests of those to whom one is close. Immanuel Kant's attempt to maintain the unity of morality and the force of moral obligation by invoking the idea of God and the postulates of pure practical reason are explored and assessed. Hegel's reconstruction of the status of moral obligation is also examined, given his attempt to eschew Kant's thing-in-itself, as well as Kant's at least possible transcendent God. Severed from any metaphysical anchor, morality gains a contingent content from socio-historical context and its enforcement from the state. Hegel's disengagement from a transcendent God marks a watershed in the place of God in philosophical reflections regarding the status of moral obligations on the European continent. Anscombe is vindicated. Absent the presence of God, there is an important change in the force of moral obligation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0265052509990252
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,714
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.Edward O. Wilson - 1975 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.
Moral Relativity.R. A. Duff - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (142):99-101.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Compatibility of Hegelian Recognition and Morality with the Ethics of Care.Andrew Molas - 2019 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 50 (4):285-304.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Role of "Legality" in Kant's Moral Philosophy.Koray Tütüncü - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:29-34.
The Role of "Legality" in Kant's Moral Philosophy.Koray Tütüncü - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:29-34.
Self-Legislation in Kant's Moral Philosophy.Patrick Kain - 2004 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 86 (3):257-306.
The Problem of Obligation, the Finite Rational Will, and Kantian Value Realism.Anne Margaret Baxley - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (6):567-583.
Hegel's Critique of Morality.James Carey - 1998 - Dissertation, New School for Social Research
Hegel's Critique of Kantian Morality.Kam-lun Kwong - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia
Nihilism, Relativism, and Engelhardt.Michael Wreen - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (1):73-88.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #346,059 of 2,462,618 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #223,459 of 2,462,618 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes