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THE OBJECTIVITY OF OBLIGATIONS IN DIVINE MOTIVATION THEORY: On Imitation and Submission

Authors


Daniel M. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Shawnee State University. He works in philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, and various areas of the history of philosophy (modern and 19th-century philosophy and Asian philosophy). He also enjoys occasional forays into the philosophy of sport. Daniel M. Johnson, Department of English and Humanities, Shawnee State University, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH, 45662, djohnson2@shawnee.edu

ABSTRACT

To support her divine motivation theory of the good, which seeks to ground ethics in motives and emphasize the attractiveness of morality over against the compulsion of morality, Linda Zagzebski has proposed an original account of obligations which grounds them in motives. I argue that her account renders obligations objectionably person-relative and that the most promising way to avoid my criticism is to embrace something quite close to a divine command theory of obligation. This requires her to combine her desired emphasis on the imitation of God with a contrasting emphasis on submission to God. I conclude that her divine motivation theory of the good, if it is to have an adequate account of obligation, is dependent on a divine will or divine command theory of obligation.

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