Oderberg on Cosmic Justice (Moral Argument)

David Oderberg offers philisophical investigations into morality, religion, and cosmic justice. If there is cosmic justice, there is a cosmic judge.

1) We live in a rational moral order.
2) If we live in a rational moral order, there is cosmic justice.
3) So, there is cosmic justice. (1, 2)
4) If there is cosmic justice, there must be a cosmic judge who administers it.
5) So, there is a cosmic judge who administers cosmic justice. (3, 4)

● David Oderberg, “Morality, Religion, and Cosmic Justice,” Philosophical Investigations 34/2 (2011), pp. 189-213.

Layman’s Moral Argument

1) One always has most reason to do what is morally required.
2) If there is no God or afterlife, there are cases where morality requires one to make great personal sacrifice for only modest benefits.
3) If there are cases where morality requires one to make great personal sacrifice for only modest benefits, then one does not always have the most reason to do what is morally required.
4) So, if there is no God or afterlife, then in some cases one does not have the most reason to do what is morally required. (2, 3)
5) So, it’s false that there is no God or afterlife. (1, 4)

● C. Stephen Layman, “God and the Moral Order,” Faith and Philosophy 19/3 (2002), pp. 304-316.

Are we primarily motivated by the selfish gene (Dawkins)? Should we apply rationality to morality?

The Need for Divine Aid in Being Moral (Moral Argument)

1) It is rational to try to be moral only if it’s rational to believe the attempt would likely be successful.
2) But it’s not rational to believe the attempt would likely be successful if all we have is our own human faculties to go on.
3) But it is rational to try to be moral.
4) So, it’s rational to believe the attempt would likely be successful. (1, 3)
5) So, we have more than just our own human faculties to go on. (2, 4)

6) If a theory postulates exactly what more we need to be rational in believing the attempt at being moral would likely be successful, then its rational to believe that theory.
7) Christian theism postulates exactly what more we need to be rational in believing the attempt at being moral would likely be successful.
8) So, it’s rational to believe Christian theism.

● Linda Zagzebski, “Does Ethics need God?” Faith and Philosophy 4/3 (1987), pp. 294-303.

Or do we need God’s assistance to be moral?

The Moral Gap (Moral Argument)

1) If one ought to do x, one can do x.
2) One ought to live up to the demands of morality.
3) So, one can live up to the demands of morality. (1, 2)
4) One can live up to the demands of morality only if one has the requisite extra-human assistance.
5) So, one has the requisite extra-human assistance. (3, 4)
6) If a theory postulates exactly the extra-human assistance needed to live up to the demands of morality, it is rational to believe that theory.
7) Christian theism postulates exactly the extra-human assistance needed to live up to the demands of morality.
8) So, it is rational to believe Christian theism.

● John Hare, The Moral Gap (Oxford, 1996).

Do We Have the Duty to Promote the Highest Good?

1) We ought (morally) to promote the realization of the highest good.
2) What we ought to do must be possible for us to do.
3) So, it is possible for us to promote the realization of the highest good.
4) It is possible for us to promote the realization of the highest good only if there exists a God who makes that realization possible.
5) So, there exists such a God.

● Kant, Critique of Practical Reason.


● Stewart Goetz, The Purpose of Life (Continuum, 2012), ch. 2.

Objective Obligations and Duties

1) We have objective moral obligations and duties.
2) If we have objective moral obligations and duties, they are best understood as divine commands.
3) So, objective moral obligations are best understood as divine commands.
4) If objective moral obligations are best understood as divine commands, God exists.
5) So, God exists.

● George Mavrodes, “Religion and the Queerness of Morality.”
● Robert Adams, Finite and Infinite Goods (Oxford, 1999).
● C. Stephen Evans, God and Moral Obligation (Oxford, 2013).

also see: The Moral Argument