God and the grounding of morality

Dissertation, University of Iowa (2018)

David Redmond
Northeast Iowa Community College
I argue that, if God exists, moral facts ontologically depend on him. After distinguishing a variety of ways in which moral facts might ontologically depend on God, I focus my attention on the most prominent and most well-developed account of the relationship between God and morality viz., the account developed by Robert Adams in his Finite and Infinite Goods. Adams’ account consists of two parts—an account of deontic moral properties and an account of axiological moral properties. Adams’ account of deontic moral properties is a version of divine command theory according to which the property of being morally right and the property of being morally wrong are identical to the property of being commanded by God and the property of being forbidden by God, respectively. I argue that although Adams’ divine command theory is not vulnerable to many prominent objections that afflict other versions of divine command theory, his view is, nevertheless, both unmotivated and implausible. Next, I explain Adams’ account of axiological properties, which is a particular version of what I call “theistic valuational particularism.” According to Adams’ theistic valuational particularism, the property of being intrinsically good or excellent is identical to the property of faithfully and holistically resembling God. I argue that because Adams’ conception of excellence is so broad, there are some things that have the property of being excellent but fail to resemble God. I argue that the same problem afflicts other, modified versions of theistic valuational particularism, including one that is defended by Scott Hill and another that is championed by Mark Murphy. Nevertheless, I argue that this problem does not afflict what I call “theistic moral valuational particularism,” the view that moral goodness is identical to the property of resembling God in certain, specified ways. Furthermore, I argue that, if God exists, theistic moral valuational particularism is not only well motivated theologically, but it can withstand the two most prominent objections that have been lodged against it, viz., the arbitrariness objection and the divine ascription problem.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,780
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

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Good and Evil.P. T. Geach - 1956 - Analysis 17 (2):33 - 42.
Making Sense of Divine Simplicity.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (1):3-30.

View all 66 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Robert Adams's Theistic Argument From the Nature of Morality.Stephen J. Sullivan - 1993 - Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (2):303 - 312.
The Moral Obligations of Reasonable Non-Believers.Wes Morriston - 2009 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (1):1 - 10.
Particularism and Supervenience.Caj Strandberg - 2008 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
Theistic Activism and the Euthyphro Dilemma.David James Baggett - 2002 - Dissertation, Wayne State University
Divine Command Theory and Theistic Activism.Simin Rahimi - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (4):551-559.
Divine Command Theory and Moral Supervenience.Blake McAllister - 2016 - Philosophia Christi 18 (1):65-78.
Particularism and Moral Education.David Bakhurst - 2005 - Philosophical Explorations 8 (3):265 – 279.
The Real Direction of Dancy’s Moral Particularism.Edmund Wall - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):587-612.
Moral Property Eliminativism.T. Ryan Byerly - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2695-2713.


Added to PP index

Total views
7 ( #883,259 of 2,264,860 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #185,497 of 2,264,860 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature