Hi Steve, this piece is actually a critique of divine command theory. It’s a structural critique, rather than a substantive one.

Unfortunately, you’re right, I can’t offer an accurate piece here (as I would if it’s an academic paper.) It’s no where near as rigorous I’d like it to be.

My analogy is meant to illustrate the difference between moral epistemology and ontology. I’m afraid it’s my shortcoming that I failed to illustrate this better. I’m engaging in meta-ethics. It’s not easy, after all.


Why bring God into this discussion? Partly because divine command theory suggests that naturalism (not necessarily materialism) cannot provide an objective ground to morality.

Think about simple statements: “There’s a cat.” What are we trying to say with this statement? Well, if you’re a realist, then you’d say that you’re referring to something real, i.e., the cat. That if anyone else were to see the cat themselves, they’ll agree with your statement, “There’s a cat.” In simpler terms, one can point to a real object (the cat) to verify the claim, “There’s a cat.”

This analysis seems to break down when it comes to moral semantics. When someone says, “Murdering the innocent is wrong.” What are they referring to? Are they referring to anything real at all?

DCT claims that in order for someone to say that we’re referring to something real (“Murdering is wrong” is to something real,) then we need to insert God into the picture. Like we need to refer to a cat to talk objectively about cats, DCT argues that we need to refer to God (and His character) to talk objectively about morality.

Now my basic contention here is that this way of thinking over-generalizes things. It makes talking about morality either too simple or too uninteresting. It’s a structural critique.

I apologize for not being clear enough. But I hope this helps.

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy