Atheism, Naturalism, and Morality

In Raymond Arragon & Michael Peterson (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion, 2nd edition. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 66-78 (2020)
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It is a commonly held view that the existence of moral value somehow depends upon the existence of God. Some proponents of this view take the very strong position that atheism entails that there is no moral value; but most take the weaker position that atheism cannot explain what moral value is, or how it could have come into being. Call the first position Incompatibility, and the second position Inadequacy. In this paper, I will focus on the arguments for Inadequacy. There are two main arguments for this position: the Argument from Arbitrariness and the Screening-Off Argument. I’ll discuss each in turn., and argue that neither is successful. To conclude, I’ll sketch what I think is a promising beginning to a naturalistic account of morality.

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Louise Antony
University of Massachusetts, Amherst


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