Does God Have the Moral Standing to Blame?

Faith and Philosophy 35 (1):33-55 (2018)
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In this paper, I introduce a problem to the philosophy of religion – the problem of divine moral standing – and explain how this problem is distinct from (albeit related to) the more familiar problem of evil (with which it is often conflated). In short, the problem is this: in virtue of how God would be (or, on some given conception, is) “involved in” our actions, how is it that God has the moral standing to blame us for performing those very actions? In light of the recent literature on “moral standing”, I consider God’s moral standing to blame on two models of “divine providence”: open theism, and theological determinism. I contend that God may have standing on open theism, and – perhaps surprisingly – may also have standing, even on theological determinism, given the truth of compatibilism. Thus, if you think that God could not justly both determine and blame, then you will have to abandon compatibilism. The topic of this paper thus sheds considerable light on the traditional philosophical debate about the conditions of moral responsibility.

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Patrick Todd
University of Edinburgh


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