Ratio 22 (2):137-156 (2009)

John Kekes
Union College
We do not have to choose between belief in a divinely ordained cosmic moral order and the arbitrariness of our moral commitments. The alternative is a secular view that accepts that there is a natural cosmic order, denies that the order is moral, and relies on the values of the human world to provide a moral order by which we can reasonably live. These values are human constructions. Reliance on them is reasonable if they have passed the test of critical reflection. Our well-being depends on living according to the values that passed that test. Natural necessities, the contingencies of life, and our fallibility, however, limit the extent to which we can control how we live. We cannot free ourselves from necessities, but we can reduce the extent to which we are vulnerable to contingencies, and we can, within limits, increase the control we have by correcting mistakes we make when we are insufficiently critical of our attitudes, commitments, and values.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2009.00422.x
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