The purpose of this paper is to ask whether the claim that God determines morality can be explained in a reasonable way. This claim has been the central thesis of Divine command theories of morality, theories that have been the object of much criticism. We seek to argue that before any of the traditional objections to these theories can be considered, a fundamental issue must be faced, namely, that it is very difficult to give a reasonable and coherent account of the basic intuition underlying Divine command theories of morality, the intuition that God makes it the case that some things are right while others are wrong. The article examines in detail the following interpretations of the relation between God and morality mentioned above: that God determines morality by an act of legislation; that God's command is the (only) justification for moral judgments; that God's command is the meaning of morality; that God's command is identical with morality. We show that each of these interpretations faces serious difficulties, which are a challenge to any philosopher who wishes to defend a Divine command morality.
|Translated title of the contribution||What could be the Meaning of the Idea that Morality Depends on Religion?|
|Journal||Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly|
|State||Published - 1989|