The Moral Argument

Key ideas surronding the Moral Argument

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  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 03-11-14 13:08
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  • The Moral Argument
    • Kant
      • Book = The Critique of Practical Reason
        • There is a God who helps us achieve what we have to
        • Requires humans to achieve the summum bonum
          • Summum bonum = the highest good in which virtue is rewarded with happiness
        • There is an objective moral law we must obey
        • We can only do something good if it is possible for us to do it
        • We can only do the summum bonum if God assists us
        • Predicate = we all have a sense of innate moral awareness
      • "Two things fill the mind with ever increasing admiration and awe; the starry sky above me and the moral law within me"
      • Categorical imperative 'you ought to do this'
        • Kant talks about the 3 'postulates of morality'. These are:
          • 2) Immortality - happiness (summum bonum) is not always achieved in this life
          • 1) Freedom - if you aren't free you can't do it
          • 3) God - you ought to do something even if it might not make you happy so you believe in a God that has ordered the world to allow the highest good to be achievable.
    • Aquinas
      • Book = Summa Theologica
        • People judge things to be more perfect than other things
        • We can only judge what is 'more perfect' if there is a 'most perfect'
        • We must know what the 'most perfect' is and so the perfect must exist
        • Whatever contains the most perfection must be the source of all the perfection that exists in other beings
        • Our moral greatness is a reflection of God
          • "made in the image and likeness of God" Genesis 1:27
    • Freud
      • Book = The Future of an Illusion
        • An individual depends utterly on our earliest, pre-conscious experiences
          • What we learn from our parents and the society we are brought up in remains with us throughout our life.
            • Explains why people's conscience are different as we were brought up differently and have different views on what is right and wrong.
          • We may not remember being taught things such as stealing is wrong but it becomes a part of our unconscious mind creating the conscious - this is called social conditioning.
            • We don't hear the voice of God if we are guilty of doing something wrong (guilty conscious), we are just reminded that we were taught to do that thing is wrong
        • our life is a tension between the pleasure principle and the reality principle
        • believes our mind is made up of the id (pleasure), ego (reality) and superego (morality)
        • Religious belief is a form of obsessional neurosis
          • "A form of obsessional neurosis to be exact!"
      • Atheist / naturalist / determinist
    • C S Lewis
      • Book = Mere Christianity
        • Science can't help as there are certain kinds of questions outside the scope of science.
          • There is a controlling power outside the universe - "It could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe"
        • A controlling power of the universe could make its presence known in the only type of knowledge that doesn't come from observation - self-knowledge.
          • "I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way"
    • John Henry Newman
      • Book = The Grammar of Assent
        • "If, as is the case, we feel responsibility, are ashamed and frightened at  transgressing the voice of conscience, this implies there is one to whom we are responsible"
        • The feelings we get when we do something bad which make us feel guilty it suggests these feelings must be directed towards some thing and this 'something' is not in the visible world but is a supernatural / divine being.
  • Book = The Critique of Practical Reason
    • There is a God who helps us achieve what we have to
    • Requires humans to achieve the summum bonum
      • Summum bonum = the highest good in which virtue is rewarded with happiness
    • There is an objective moral law we must obey
    • We can only do something good if it is possible for us to do it
    • We can only do the summum bonum if God assists us
    • Predicate = we all have a sense of innate moral awareness

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