On justifying one's acceptance of divine command theory

It has been alleged against divine command theory (DCT) that we cannot justify our acceptance of it without giving it up. For if we provide moral reasons for our acceptance of God's commands, then those reasons, and not God's commands, must be our ultimate moral standard. Kai Nielsen has o...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:International journal for philosophy of religion
Main Author: Plaisted, Dennis
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Springer Science + Business Media B. V [2017]
In: International journal for philosophy of religion
Year: 2017, Volume: 81, Issue: 3, Pages: 315-334
Further subjects:B Ethical theory justification
B ETHICS Without God (Book)
B Divine Command Theory
B RELIGION & ethics
B Religion and ethics
B Divine commands (Ethics)
B JUSTIFICATION (Ethics)
B NIELSEN, Kai, 1926-
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Description
Summary:It has been alleged against divine command theory (DCT) that we cannot justify our acceptance of it without giving it up. For if we provide moral reasons for our acceptance of God's commands, then those reasons, and not God's commands, must be our ultimate moral standard. Kai Nielsen has offered the most forceful version of this objection in his book, Ethics Without God. My principal aim is to show that Nielsen's charge does not succeed. His argument crucially relies upon the assumption that the moral judgments one employs to justify acceptance of a normative theory are more fundamental to one's moral outlook than the theory itself. I argue that this assumption presupposes a questionable foundationalist view of theory justification, and if we instead adopt a coherentist reflective equilibrium stance, we can thoughtfully evaluate DCT without abandoning it.
ISSN:1572-8684
Contains:Enthalten in: International journal for philosophy of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s11153-016-9572-3