Restricted Theological Voluntarism



In addressing objections to the theological voluntarist program, the consensus response by defenders of theological voluntarism has been to affirm a restricted theological voluntarism on which some, but not all, important normative statuses are to be explained by immediate appeal to the divine will. The aim of this article is to assess the merits and demerits of this restricted view. While affirming the restricted view does free theological voluntarism from certain objections, it comes at the cost of committing the theological voluntarist to the view that no theses about the divine nature itself could alone be sufficient to motivate a theological voluntarist thesis about any normative status. And when we examine the case for a theological voluntarist account of any particular normative status – say, rightness, or obligatoriness – there are severe difficulties with that case as it stands. It is thus unclear whether the theological voluntarist program of providing good reasons to affirm a voluntarist explanation of non-trivially-theistic normative statuses has borne fruit.