Moral Argument

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  • Moral Argument
    • Thomas Aquinas- humans have the capacity for both good and bad, so the source of goodness is not in the world
      • Something perfectly good must exist for us to have degrees of goodness
        • God exists- the most perfect being and source of all goodness
    • John Henry Newman- humans feel shame, responsibility- we must feel this towards God
    • Kant- we all seek happiness and ought to be moral- do our duty- as we have innate moral awareness
      • The universe is fair- our reward, the summum bonum, must be achievable. If sin profits more, it would be rational; but it makes no sense to say 'I ought to give to charity, but have no reason to'
        • However, the summum bonum is not common or achievable in this life, and some good people act morally even though they suffer great pain
          • There must be an afterlife where the summum bonum is achievable, and a God to guarantee the universe is fair
    • Camus- if there is a plague, we can:
      • Be anti-humanitarian and not fight it, alongside a priest
      • Fight alongside a doctor against the God who sent it
        • If humanitarianism is right, theism is wrong
          • Be anti-humanitarian and not fight it, alongside a priest
    • Sorley- people are conscious of absolute moral law, even if they break it.
      • No finite mind grasps the entire representation, but ideas exist only in the mind
        • There must be a supreme infinite mind in which absolute moral law exists
    • Bertrand Russell morality either comes from God or not.
      • It does- good is arbitrary, simply what God says it is
        • God is not worthy of worship
      • It doesn't- it is independent and God is subjective to it
        • God is not worthy of worship
    • C.S. Lewis- moral law:
      • Can't be mere convention (not everything, e.g. maths, is social convention)
      • Can't be mere imagination (as it can't be removed, and is impressed on us from outside)
      • Must exist in a mind and can't be a law of nature (as it is an 'ought', not an 'is'
      • Can't be herd instinct (otherwise the strongest would always win, we would always act from instinct and some instincts would always be right)
      • Must exist (or disagreements, promises and excuses wouldn't)
      • Must originate from an absolute good mind!
    • Freud- childhood experiences leaves a superego with parental influences, including traditions and demands of their times. Conscience is little more than this (undermines the connection between God and morality)


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