Morality, Inescapable Rational Authority, and a God's Wishes

Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (3):454-474 (2015)

Gerald K. Harrison
Massey University
It is a supposed conceptual truth about moral norms that we have reason to comply with them even if we desire not to. This combination of rational authority and inescapability is thought to be incompatible with instrumentalism about practical reason. This essay argues that there are ways in which norms with inescapable rational authority can exist alongside instrumentalism about practical reason. One way involves positing an afterlife and a powerful supernatural agency—so, a kind of god—who has total control over our welfare in that afterlife. I go on to argue that the attitudes of this god would also provide something answering to our impressions of moral desert
Keywords divine command theory  categorical reasons  inescapable rational authority  metaethics
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DOI 10.1111/jore.12105
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The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Moral Realism.Peter Railton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.

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