PPT - A Level Philosophy

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First found May 22, 2018

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Does morality depend on
Michael Lacewing
[email protected]
From objectivity to God
The idea of objective moral values is very
peculiar – unless they are part of our
relationship to God.
Moral values feel personal: commands,
duties, responsibility, etc.
Moral feelings are personal: guilt,
responsibility, regret, etc.
How can people have absolute worth unless
this is derived from an absolutely good
Against the link: The
Euthyphro dilemma
Does God command what is right because it
is right? But then moral values exist
independently of God – so their peculiar
status returns.
Is what is right right because God commands
it? This seems to make morality arbitrary.
No - because God is good.
But if God is the standard of goodness, ‘God
is good’ is a tautology.
If ‘God is good’ is not a tautology, then good
(and so moral value) is independent of God.
God is love
God is love - this provides the standard
for saying God is good.
But then, isn’t the foundation of morality
love, not God?
No - because the foundation of morality
is God’s love.
Sartre on God and ethics
God does not exist.
Therefore, human beings
were not made, based on
some model.
Therefore, there is no
‘human nature’.
Therefore, responsibility for
what we make of ourselves
and our lives rests with us.
Sartre on God and ethics
However, because God does not exist, there
is no set system of values to help us choose.
We are completely free. We ‘impose’ values.
Realizing this, we realize we ‘can no longer
want but one thing, and that is freedom, as
the basis of all values… We want freedom for
freedom’s sake and in every particular
circumstance. And in wanting freedom we
discover that it depends entirely on the
freedom of others, and that the freedom of
others depends on ours.’
Kant’s argument
Morality is based on pure
reason, not God.
Our moral duty is to seek
the highest good, viz. that
moral laws are obeyed and
that people receive what
they deserve.
In this situation, acting
morally would make us
happy; acting immorally
would make us unhappy.
Kant’s argument
This is not how this world is. But is this
situation, the highest good, possible? If it
isn’t, our motivation to pursue it will be
The only way to suppose it is possible is to
suppose God - who can bring morality and
happiness into alignment - exists.
So, to make complete sense of morality, we
must suppose God exists.
Objection: must we suppose the highest good
is possible?

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