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God and Moral Obligation$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199696680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696680.001.0001

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Alternatives to a Divine Command Theory

Alternatives to a Divine Command Theory

Chapter:
(p.118) 5 Alternatives to a Divine Command Theory
Source:
God and Moral Obligation
Author(s):

C. Stephen Evans

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696680.003.0005

This chapter considers a number of metaethical accounts which are often regarded as rivals to a divine command account. The chapter argues that some of them, such as ethical naturalism, ethical non-naturalism, and sensibility theories, are actually not rivals to a divine command account when developed in a reasonable form. Error theory, while certainly a rival, also provides support for a divine command account at key points. The chapter argues that varieties of expressivism fail adequately to account for the objectivity and authority of moral obligations. Some constructivist accounts, such as social contract theories, also have these defects, and fail to explain the universality of moral obligations as well. Other constructivist accounts, such as that of Christine Korsgaard, turn out to be forms of moral realism on close inspection, and are compatible with a divine command view when developed in accordance with Kant's account.

Keywords:   error theory, expressivism, constructivism, social contract theory, Christine Korsgaard, Kant, sensibility theories, ethical naturalism, ethical non-naturalism

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