Impossible Commands


Assuming divine command theory is true, there are no moral limits on the commands God can issue. Nevertheless there are no possible worlds in which divine command theory is true and God commands cruelty for its own sake or the sacrifice of ten-year-olds in a gruesome ritual, or anything of the kind. The main conclusion of the argument is that God cannot command the morally horrible not because of God's moral perfection or God's lack of power, of God's kindness, etc., but because commanding the morally horrible entails a contradiction. I show that the argument is an instance of a valid and uncontroversial counterfactual sequent. Divine command theory entails that there are commands that even an omnipotent and morally unconstrained being cannot issue.

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Mike Almeida
University of Texas at San Antonio


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