argument, moral

argument, moral
   The moral argument (also known as 'the axiological argument') is usually thought of as a type of argument for the existence of God based on the existence of moral absolutes. Dostoyevsky captured the core intuition in The Brothers Karamazov with Ivan Karamazov's chilling assertion: 'If there is no God, everything is permitted.' The moral argument adds that since it's not true that everything is permissible, there must be a God. That is, the existence of objective moral laws requires an objective moral lawgiver just as laws of a civil society require a lawgiver (the state). A different sort of moral argument is found in Immanuel Kant's Critique of Practical Reason. In this version, it is not the putative existence of moral norms that requires explanation, but rather the necessity that the punitive and exculpatory judgement of human actions according to these moral norms be satisfied. Since it is clearly not satisfied in this life (for example, the wicked prosper while the good suffer), there must be another life where it is satisfied, and a divine authority to ensure as much. Also, if we did not believe in this other life where wrongs are righted we should have no motivation to press on when our good ends are not achieved.
   Further reading: Kant 1956; Lewis, C. S. 1952; Owen 1965

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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