From the publisher:

This work focuses on divine command, and in particular the theory that what makes something obligatory is that God commands it, and what makes something wrong is that God commands us not to do it. Focusing on the Abrahamic faiths, eminent scholar John E. Hare explains that two experiences have had to be integrated. The first is that God tells us to do something, or not to do something. The second is that we have to work out ourselves what to do and what not to do. The difficulty has come in establishing the proper relation between them. In Christian reflection on this, two main traditions have emerged, divine command theory and natural law theory.

Hare successfully defends a version of divine command theory, but also shows that there is considerable overlap with some versions of natural law theory. He engages with a number of Christian theologians, particularly Karl Barth, and extends into a discussion of divine command within Judaism and Islam. The work concludes by examining recent work in evolutionary psychology, and argues that thinking of our moral obligations as produced by divine command offers us some help in seeing how a moral conscience could develop in a way that is evolutionarily stable.

Oxford University Press


1.       Morality and Religion


1.1   The Argument from Providence

1.2   The Argument from Grace

1.3   The Argument from Justification

1.4   God’s Command and the Scope of Obligation

2.       What is a Divine Command?


2.1. Five Types of Prescription

              2.1.1. Prescription in General

              2.1.2. Precepts

              2.1.3. Prohibitions

              2.1.4. Permissions

              2.1.5. Counsels

              2.1.6. Directly Effective Commands

2.2. Divine Authority

2.3. Barth on Divine Command

              2.3.1. Six Implications of Our Being Commanded by God

              2.3.2. Three Puzzles

3.       Eudaemonism


3.1. Does Morality Make You Happy?

3.2. The Sources of Motivation

              3.2.1. A Single Source View: Aristotle

              3.2.2. A Double Source View: Scotus

              3.2.3. Two Errors of Kant

3.3. Four Attempted Defences of Eudaemonism

              3.3.1. The First Defence: Epicurean

              3.3.2. The Second Defence: Stoic

              3.3.3. The Third Defence: Thomist

              3.3.4. The Fourth Defence: Agent-Transcendent Eudaemonism  

4.       Can We Deduce Morality from Human Nature?


              4.1. Scotus

                             4.1.1. The Non-Deducibility of the Law from our Nature

                             4.1.2. The Fittingness of the Law to our Nature

                             4.1.3. The Social Character of Obligation

              4.2. Consensus Deductivism

              4.3. Prescriptivism

                             4.3.1. Motivation

                             4.3.2. Moral Properties

                             4.3.3. Ideals

              4.4. Foot and Hursthouse on Deductivism

                             4.4.1. Too Much and Too Little

                             4.4.2. Good Roots and Good Wolves

                             4.4.3. The Good Promise-Keeper


5.       Barth on Divine Command


              5.1. Barth on Particularity

                             5.1.1. The Specific Individual

                             5.1.2. Haecceity

                             5.1.3. The Positions in a Moral Judgement

                             5.1.4. Barth on Universality

              5.2. Barth’s Account of Human Freedom

                             5.2.1. Three Pictures of Freedom

                             5.2.2. The Canaanite Woman

              5.3. Barth and our Access to the Commands

                             5.3.1. Barth and Kant

                             5.3.2. Kant on Conscience

                             5.3.3. The Tradition’s Resources for Assessing the Command

6.       Divine Command in Some Medieval Islamic Thinkers


              6.1. Intrinsic Value

                             6.1.1. ‘Abd al-Jabbar

                             6.1.2. Al-Ash’ari

                             6.1.3. Al-Maturidi

              6.2. Human Freedom

                             6.2.1. ‘Abd al- Jabbar

                             6.2.2. Al-Ash’ari

                             6.2.3. Al-Maturidi

              6.3. Revelation and Reason

                             6.3.1. ‘Abd al-Jabbar

                             6.3.2. Al-Ash’ari

                             6.3.3. Al-Maturidi

7.       Divine Command in Some Recent Jewish Thinkers


              7.1. Marvin Fox on Maimonides

                            7.1.1. An Esoteric Text

                             7.1.2. Maimonides on the Mean

                             7.1.3. Maimonides on the Reasons for the Commandments

              7.2. David Novak            

                             7.2.1. The Current Situation of Judaism

                             7.2.2. Novak on Maimonides

                             7.2.3. Novak on the Noahide Laws

              7.3. Franz Rosenzweig

                             7.3.1. Introduction

                             7.3.2. Creation: The Disappearance of God

                             7.3.3. Revelation: Initiative and Response

                             7.3.4. Redemption: Revelation and Creation Seen Backwards

8.       Divine Command and Evolutionary Psychology


              8.1. The Story

              8.2. Evolution and Reducing the Moral Demand

                             8.2.1. Herbert Spencer and Larry Arnhart

                             8.2.2. Jonathan Haidt

              8.3. Evolution and Anti-Realism

                             8.3.1. John Mackie

                             8.3.2. Michael Ruse

                             8.3.3. Sharon Street

                             8.3.4. Paul Bloom

              8.4. Transcending our Evolutionary Situation without God

                             8.4.1. Joshua Greene

                             8.4.2. Philip Kitcher

              8.5. Transcending our Evolutionary Situation with God

9.       Summary