Moral Objectivity, Simplicity, and the Identity View of God

Philosophia Christi 11 (1):126-144 (2009)
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Abstract

In contrast to the most common view, I argue that one can consistently affirm that fundamental moral principles are objective and invariable, and yet are dependent on God. I explore and reject appealing to divine simplicity as a basis for affirming this conjunction. Rather, I develop the thesis that God is identical to the Good (the Identity View or IV) and argue that the IV does not fall to the criticisms of simplicity. I then consider a divine will theory (DWT) that claims moral principles are grounded in God’s will. When the IV is conjoined with a DWT, there is reason to affirm an objective, theistically based ethics. The IV and DWT proposed here are models and while I attempt to increase their plausibility, I do not argue for their truth. The IV conjoined with a moral theory such as DWT explains the dependence of moral principles on God, while allowing for objectivity since morality is rooted in the eternal unchanging standard of the Good.

Author's Profile

Gordon Pettit
Western Illinois University

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