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Challenges to Moral and Religious BeliefDisagreement and Evolution$
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Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669776.001.0001

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Conscience and the Moral Epistemology of Divine Command Theory

Conscience and the Moral Epistemology of Divine Command Theory

(p.101) 5 Conscience and the Moral Epistemology of Divine Command Theory
Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief

John Hare

Oxford University Press

This chapter has three parts. First, it describes an account by Immanuel Kant of how conscience is both an internal ‘voice’ and presents itself as coming from an external, non-human source giving obligating moral commands. The experience of the voice does not itself license the conclusion that this source exists, but Kant has an argument linking the experience to an argument that does license this conclusion. Second, the chapter looks at anthropological evidence (especially from hunter-gatherer societies) concerning the universality of the experience of a voice that could be linked with such an argument. Third, it constructs a non-Kantian argument for the claim that religious traditions that do fit this Kantian linking procedure have internal resources for answering questions about how to tell which purported commands come from such a source and which do not.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, conscience, divine command, moral epistemology, hunter-gatherers, morality and religion

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