Religious Studies



Supervenience and property-identical divine-command theory


MICHAEL J. ALMEIDA a1
a1 Department of English, Classics and Philosophy, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 6900 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78249-0643

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Abstract

Property-identical divine-command theory (PDCT) is the view that being obligatory is identical to being commanded by God in just the way that being water is identical to being H2O. If these identity statements are true, then they express necessary a posteriori truths. PDCT has been defended in Robert M. Adams (1987) and William Alston (1990). More recently Mark C. Murphy (2002) has argued that property-identical divine-command theory is inconsistent with two well-known and well-received theses: the free-command thesis and the supervenience thesis. I show that Murphy's argument is vitiated by mistaken assumptions about the substitutivity of metaphysical identicals in contexts of supervenience. The free-command thesis and the supervenience thesis therefore pose no serious threat to PDCT.

(Published Online August 11 2004)