Divine Commands and Moral Autonomy

Philip L. Quinn

in Divine Commands and Moral Requirements

Published in print October 1978 | ISBN: 9780198244134
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680755 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Divine Commands and Moral Autonomy

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It has become fashionable to try to prove the impossibility of there being a God. More recently, James Rachels has offered a moral argument intended to show that there could not be a being worthy of worship. What Rachels attempts to establish is that obedience to divine commands would require giving up the role of moral autonomy. If this were so, it would destroy the prospects for a defensible divine command theory of morality. This chapter examines the position Rachels is arguing for. It shows that Rachel's attempt to prove that no being could be a fitting object of worship rests on a false premise and its, therefore, unsound. This chapter also shows that the genuine philosophical perplexity which motivates Rachels's argument can be dispelled without too much difficulty.

Keywords: God; James Rachels; moral judgment; obedience; divine command; morality

Chapter.  8293 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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