Ethics Exam: Divine Command Theory, Objectivism, Diversity and Dependency Theses

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1. Explain what is meant by saying that a value is intrinsic? How are instrumental values related to intrinsic values?

A value is said to be intrinsic if an object has the value for its own sake or because of its nature. A value is said to be instrumental if it aids in achieving or acquiring something with intrinsic value. For example, one’s job could have instrumental value in that it acquires money. Furthermore, money could have instrumental value in that it can provide objects from which one derives happiness or pleasure, something with intrinsic value. Objects or activities with instrumental value typically aid in acquiring things with intrinsic value.

2. According to the Divine Command Theory (DCT), does God command what he commands because it is intrinsically good; or is what God commands “good” because it is God who commands it?

The Divine Command Theory suggests that what God commands is “good” because He commands it, but this view is not necessarily valid. According to the DCT, “goodness” is equated with “God-willed,” suggesting that the commands of God are “good” because they are His commands. A statement such as “God is good” becomes redundant and illogical if “good” is equated with “God-willed.” It would be more logical to think that God’s commands have intrinsic goodness since atheists and other nonbelievers can identify with some moral foundation. An atheist might choose to believe that God was correct in saying that “killing is wrong” not because he believes in God’s word but rather he believes that the rule is intrinsically good.

3. According to the Divine Command Theory why should we obey the moral law?

According to the Divine Command Theory, we should obey the moral law because it is the word of God. The DCT suggests that “morally right” means “willed by God,” so acting in compliance with moral law is essentially synonymous with acting in compliance with the word of God. Since God determines the moral law, no other...
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