Roczniki Filozoficzne 52 (2):391-427 (2004)

The text analyses various examples of moral arguments for the existence of God. Taking advantage of the ideas from the writings of Kant and his interpreters, we sought to reconstruct them logically, conferring on them a form as reliable as possible. All the arguments have been divided into three groups: practical version, theoretical version, mixed version (thought to be optimal). 1) Practical version. It starts from our desires, beliefs, obligations etc. and combines them with desires, beliefs, and obligations with regard to God. There are different varieties of this version. We have discussed in more detail its deontic variety based on the assumption: ,,we should carry out the ultimate good\" (the state of happiness conditioned by virtue). Owing additional assumptions (conceptual and psychological) and corresponding simple logical operations we arrive at the conclusion: ,,we should believe that God exists.\" Reliability, however, of such a week conclusion is undermined by the ambiguous character of the statement ,,we should carry out the ultimate good.\" Rather, we should say that we are obliged to carry out moral law, and thereby expect a just reward. Faith in God is conducive to such efforts, inasmuch as they refer to the morality comprehended in a maximalist manner, justice, and happiness. 2) Theoretical version. We have pinpointed its two varieties: ,,the requirement of the lawgiver\" and ,,the requirement of justice.\" In the first variety on the basis of the existence of morality we deduce the existence of God as its ,,author,\" for no other creature has a corresponding power, moral and metaphysical, to establish (execute) universal and unconditional moral obligations. In the second variety God appears to safeguard the carrying out a just reward (punishment, inherent in morality itself) for the satisfaction (violation) of these obligations. The debate about the value of the first argument is reduced to the debate about whether morality is indeed characterized by such features whose existence cannot be explained without reference to God. The main debate connected with the second argument is whether the fact of morality entails the ontic (not only deontic) necessity of a just judgement (and its related reward or punishment) of those who are submitted to morality. 3) Mixed version. According to some varieties of the practical version, it takes on a human desire to reach the ultimate good at the point of departure. This desire, natural and right, regards the existence of this good as an indicator. Hence it is possible to transfer from the practical sphere to the theoretical one. If it is well-known that the ultimate good exists, we can ask about its cause. Reasoning - similar to the one given in the previous point - leads to a belief that God is this cause. One may doubt, however, whether our natural and right desires are always reliable indicators that their objects exist. 4) The above analyses have unveiled the assumptions and difficulties of all the versions of the family of arguments under consideration. Does this mean that the arguments are not efficient? Not in the least. This means only that they are efficient under certain conditions. These conditions, like anything in philosophy, make up the object of everlasting debates
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0035-7685
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