Moral Argument

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  • Created by: Abitracey
  • Created on: 14-04-12 15:38

Immanuel Kant analysed Aquinas’ 4th way and devised his proof for God based on morality

Kant’s starting point was that we all have a sense of innate moral awareness:

‘Two things fill the mind with ever new increasing admiration and awe… the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me’

His argument for the existence of God follows:

1. We all have a sense of innate moral awareness – from this we are under obligation to be virtuous
2. An ‘average’ level of virtue is not enough, we are obliged to aim for the highest standard possible
3. True virtue should be rewarded with happiness
4. There is an ideal state where human virtue and happiness are united – this Kant called the ‘Summum Bonum’
5. Moral statements are prescriptive – ‘ought’ implies ‘can’
6. Humans can achieve virtue in a lifetime but it is beyond us to ensure we are rewarded with happiness
7. Therefore there must be a God who has power to ensure that virtue and happiness coincide

Kant’s moral argument does not postulate that God is necessary for morality but that God is required for morality to achieve its end

‘Therefore it is morally necessary to assume the existence of God.’


“We feel responsibility, are ashamed, are frightened at transgressing the voice of conscience, this implies that there is one to whom we are responsible.”

For Newman, the existence of conscience implies a moral law-giver whom we are answerable to – God.

• Moral laws may not be objective or about obeying moral duty. For Joseph Fletcher ignoring individual circumstances will lead to callous and unsatisfactory actions
• The moral argument does not prove the existence of God. Just because our conscience points to a source does not mean that source is God. Could be merely a…


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