Why the Horrendous Deeds Objection Is Still a Bad Argument

Sophia 61 (2):399-418 (2022)
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Abstract

A common objection to divine command meta-ethics is the horrendous deeds objection. Critics object that if DCM is true, anything at all could be right, no matter how abhorrent or horrendous. Defenders of DCM have responded by contending that God is essentially good: God has certain character traits essentially, such as being loving and just. A person with these character traits cannot command just anything. In recent discussions of DCM, this ‘essential goodness response’ has come under fire. Critics of DCM have offered various objections to the essential goodness response. This paper responds to these critics. I examine and refute six such objections: the objection from counterpossibles, the objection from omnipotence, the objection from requirements of justice, the objection from God’s moral grounding power, the objection from evil and indifferent deities, and the epistemological objection. I will maintain that despite all that has been said about the horrendous deeds objection in recent analytic philosophy, the horrendous deeds argument is still a bad argument.

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References found in this work

The Elements of Moral Philosophy.James Rachels & Stuart Rachels - 2009 - New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.
The Language of Morals.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1952 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.Fred Feldman & J. L. Mackie - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (1):134.

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