An Investigation of the Divine Command Theory from the Viewpoint of William J. Wainwright

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master’s Holder in Philosophy of Religion, Allameh Tabataba'i University

2 PhD Holder in Philosophy, Allameh Tabataba'i University


Religion and ethics have been considered for long as the two key elements of human life, and the relationship between the two has always been a controversial issue. Consequently, the main question of the article at hand revolves around this key point, and we aim at investigating Wainwright’s viewpoint in this regard. Accordingly, Wainwright’s viewpoint about Kant’s ethical theory in general and Kant’s opinion about self-authority in particular are expressed and examined. Then, Wainwright’s evaluation of the reasons for and against the divine command theory is explicated. The findings demonstrate that from Wainwright’s viewpoint, the criticisms against the divine command theory can be answered and there are numerous reasons to defend this theory. At the end, through a comparison of the divine command theory with other existing theories on the relationship between religion and ethical issues, Wainwright concludes that despite its shortcomings, the divine command theory is currently the best theory for the explanation of the ethical issues. In sum, it seems that the divine command theory enjoys more objectivity than other ethical theories.


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