Moral Objectivity, Simplicity, and the Identity View of God

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

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Gordon Pettit
Western Illinois University


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