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Kierkegaard's Ethic of LoveDivine Commands and Moral Obligations$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199272174.001.0001

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Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Relativism and Nihilism

Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Relativism and Nihilism

Chapter:
(p.280) 12 Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Relativism and Nihilism
Source:
Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love
Author(s):

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199272174.003.0012

Gilbert Harman develops a theory of moral relativism in which rightness or wrongness depends on a framework. Differences in moral frameworks reflect differences in situation, power, and status. Harman’s relativism thus slides quickly into nihilism. He leaves us with no rational basis for criticizing evil people who do not adopt ‘our’ moral framework. Even a Hitler cannot be criticized so long as he consistently follows his own moral framework. Divine command theory responds to this moral confusion by asserting that our obligations are universal in scope because God commands them.

Keywords:   Gilbert Harman, Kierkegaard, meta-ethics, moral framework, moral obligations, nihilism, relativism, universal, Works of Love

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