Religious Studies



Ockham as a divine-command theorist


THOMAS M. OSBORNE JR a1
a1 Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

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Abstract

Although this thesis is denied by much recent scholarship, Ockham holds that the ultimate ground of a moral judgement's truth is a divine command, rather than natural or non-natural properties. God could assign a different moral value not only to every exterior act, but also to loving God. Ockham does allow that someone who has not had access to revelation can make correct moral judgements. Although her right reason dictates what God in fact commands, she need not know that God so commands. Ockham's divine-command theory plays an important role in the shift away from a nature-based ethics, and it anticipates contemporary problems concerning truth in meta-ethics.