Kierkegaard and Evans on the problem of Abraham

Journal of Religious Ethics 39 (3):474-492 (2011)
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Abstract

A significant challenge faces any ethic that endorses the view that divine commands are sufficient to impose moral obligations; in this paper, I focus on Kierkegaard's ethic, in particular. The challenge to be addressed is the "modernized" problem of Abraham, popularized especially by Fear and Trembling: the dilemma that an agent faces when a being claiming to be God issues a command to the agent that, by the agent's own lights, seems not to be the kind of command that a loving God would issue. Against a solution to this problem proposed by C. Stephen Evans in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love, I argue that Kierkegaard regards this scenario as never actually resulting in a fully responsible agent's performance of some horrendous action on account of her non-culpable misinterpretation of God's will and/or failure to discern correctly whether a perceived moral imperative truly is divine in origin

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R. Zachary Manis
The Stony Brook School

Citations of this work

The Moment Of Faith: Against Relativism Through A Reinterpretation Of The Story Of Abraham.Justin M. Zyla - 2014 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 13 (39):45-67.

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References found in this work

Concluding unscientific postscript to Philosophical fragments.Søren Kierkegaard - 1992 - Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Edited by Howard Vincent Hong, Edna Hatlestad Hong & Søren Kierkegaard.
Fear and trembling.Søren Kierkegaard - 1986 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by C. Stephen Evans & Sylvia Walsh.
Does God Have a Nature?Alvin Plantinga - 1980 - Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.

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