The Reasons of the Commandments

Jonathan A. Jacobs

in Reason, Religion, and Natural Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199767175
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979592 | DOI:
The Reasons of the Commandments

Show Summary Details


Maimonides (and other Jewish thinkers) developed a view in which ethical judgments are understood as rationally justifiable but fulfillment of the requirements of tradition is needed in order to attain an understanding of their rational justifications. The view articulates a conception of the non-evident rationality of tradition and a relation of mutual reinforcement of intellectual and ethical virtue. This is a conception of the objectivity of ethical requirements without involving the conceptual resources of natural law. Jacobs argues that rationalistically disposed Jewish thinkers formulated a view with some likeness to natural law but distinct from it in important respects. Moreover, it provides an account of how the particularism of tradition can be a basis for attaining an understanding of the objective grounds of ethical requirements.

Keywords: commandments; ethical virtue; intellectual virtue; particularism; rational justification; tradition

Chapter.  10957 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.