Theological voluntarism

Mark C. Murphy

in God and Moral Law

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693665
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732010 | DOI:
Theological voluntarism

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This chapter is a treatment of divine command theory, or more generally, theological voluntarism (Quinn, Adams, Hare). After describing the trajectory that theological voluntarism has taken in recent years to avoid the more obvious objections to that view, this chapter shows that recent versions of the view have the unsettling — and from a theistic perspective, entirely unsatisfactory — result that while natural facts cannot morally necessitate any human action, natural facts can morally necessitate God's action. In combination with the implausible implications that theological voluntarism has about the moral impotence of natural facts with respect to created rational beings, these implications mark the failure of theological voluntarism as an adequate theistic account of moral law. This chapter also shows that Adams's recent appeal to the ‘social’ character of obligation fails to provide any distinctive benefits for the voluntarist position.

Keywords: God; morality; divine command theory; theological voluntarism; obligation; moral law; Adams; Quinn; Hare

Chapter.  14714 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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