Divine Will Theory: Desires or Intentions?

In L. Kvanvig Jonathan (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press (2013)
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Due largely to the work of Mark Murphy and Philip Quinn, divine will theory has emerged as a legitimate alternative to divine command theory in recent years. As an initial characterization, divine will theory is a view of deontological properties according to which, for instance, an agent S‟s obligation to perform action A in circumstances C is grounded in God‟s will that S A in C. Characterized this abstractly, divine will theory does not specify which kind of mental state is supposed to ground S‟s obligation; it could be God‟s desires, beliefs, intentions, or emotions. My purpose here is not to challenge this view. Rather, I want to examine the decision by Murphy and Quinn to base their version of divine will theory on God‟s intentions, and argue that this may have been an unwise move. As an alternative, I suggest that those who are initially attracted to divine will theory would be better served to develop the view with a focus on God‟s desires rather than intentions.



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Christian Miller
Wake Forest University

Citations of this work

Theological voluntarism.Mark Murphy - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2019.
God and the grounding of morality.David James Redmond - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Iowa

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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