Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Kierkegaard's Ethic of LoveDivine Commands and Moral Obligations$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199272174.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 21 November 2017

Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Humanistic Naturalism

Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Humanistic Naturalism

Chapter:
(p.250) 11 Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Humanistic Naturalism
Source:
Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love
Author(s):

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199272174.003.0011

Naturalistic humanism is another possible alternative to divine command theory. David Gauthier, in Morals by Agreement, rejects any objective theory of value, relying instead on the creation of social contracts developed by agreements whose purpose is to satisfy preferences. Three insurmountable problems confront Gauthier, however. First, grounding morality in agreements does not do away with the incentive to cheat. If morals develop when people employ strategies to maximize the efficient satisfaction of their preferences, then presumably they disappear when an opportunity arises to satisfy preferences even more thoroughly by abandoning those strategies. Second, if morality is grounded in a self-interested bargain, then its scope extends only to those who are party to the agreement. Finally, Gauthier’s belief that morality is valuable, in and of itself, flatly contradicts his thesis that morals are simply agreements and nothing else. With divine command theory, we have, by contrast, both an explanation for our beliefs about morality – God’s call – and an explanation for our failure to live a perfect, moral life – human sin.

Keywords:   David Gauthier, Kierkegaard, meta-ethics, self-interest, social contract, Works of Love

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .