Natural Law, Moral Constructivism, and Duns Scotus’s Metaethics

Richard Cross

in Reason, Religion, and Natural Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199767175
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979592 | DOI:
Natural Law, Moral Constructivism, and Duns Scotus’s Metaethics

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Scotus holds that the first principle of natural law is that God should be loved. And he holds that any precept in natural law must be such that it is entailed by this principle. The precepts of the second table of the Decalogue have no intrinsic connection with human teleology, and hence do not count as part of natural law. What makes these precepts human duties is God's attitude to them. Scotus argues that God has not moral but rather aesthetic reasons for the attitude he takes to them, and that these reasons can fail to obtain in particular cases.

Keywords: aesthetics; decalogue; divine command morality; Duns Scotus; metaethical constructivism; metaethics; natural law; Thomas Aquinas

Chapter.  11755 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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