Friday, January 07, 2011

Michael Martin and Paul Copan on morality

A long time ago, there was an exchange between Paul Copan and Michael Martin on morality, the moral argument for God, the divine command theory, Euthyphro's dilemma, etc. I remember it being really interesting and educational, so I thought I'd provide links to the article in the order in which they were written, not just for you, but for me, too, so I don't have to use google if I want to find them all again. :-)

"Atheism, Christian Theism, and Rape" by Michael Martin

"Can Micahel Martin Be a Moral Realist?" by Paul Copan

"Copan's Critique of Atheistic Objective Morality" by Michael Martin

"Atheistic Goodness Revisited: A Personal Reply to Michael Martin" by Paul Copan

"The Naturalistic Fallacy and Other Mistaken Arguments of Paul Copan" by Michael Martin

As far as I know, Paul Copan never responded to Michael Martin's last article, but I did find this short interaction with Martin's last article:

Atheist Michael Martin admits to this admixture [that man is both a sinner and a saint]; within the space of two paragraphs that humans both “seem so ungod-like” and are superior to animals in “intelligence, advanced linguistic and artistic capabilities,” possessing “mathematical, scientific, and technological knowledge.”8

Fn 8: Michael Martin, “A Response to Paul Copan’s Critique of Atheistic Objective Morality,” Philosophia Christi, 2 (2000): 75-90. I reply to Martin’s mistake in “Atheistic Goodness Revisited: A Personal Reply to Michael Martin” Philosophia Christi, Series 2, Vol. 2 (2000): 91-104. For some strange reason, in a later on-line essay, Martin persists in accusing me of a “contradiction” he himself espouses (humans as a mixed bag of goodness and evil) and that I had already addressed in my response to him (“The Naturalistic Fallacy and Other Mistaken Arguments of Paul Copan” [2000]: Martin’s obvious error is failing to distinguish between essential and accidental properties. Thomas V. Morris puts it this way: “There are properties which happen to be common to members of a natural kind, and which may even be universal to all members of that kind, without being essential to membership in the kind” (Our Idea of God [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1991], 164). On the differences between essential and accidental, see Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Clarendon, 1974).

That's all I could find. Paul Copan has written a few things since then on this same subject, though. There's a list of his articles here, some of which are on the subject of grounding morality.


At 1/10/2013 7:01 PM , Blogger machinephilosophy said...

Hey Sam

I know this is an old post, but wanted to thank you for posting it. I'm taking detailed notes on Martin's Atheism book, in a statement-by-statement spreadsheet, and will integrate all of this material you've linked to, into them. I've just started on it, but you can check it all out at my site, which links to all my notes on Google docs.

I'll also link to your blog and check out your other posts.



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