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"Cosmology, Theology and Meaning" - Tim Maudlin

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  • "Cosmology, Theology and Meaning" - Tim Maudlin

    Hello Guys,

    I thought it would be nice to share this video. I think Tim Maudlin takes a different approach to issue of God' and by doing so addresses important concerns that I guess most of us share.


    Would be happy to hear your thoughts!

    PS: Regarding myself, I would have to say that I have the same as Tim.
    Last edited by nojoum; 03-20-2019, 08:58 AM.

  • #2
    I watched Tim's presentation but didn't have time for the responses from WLC.

    I think he went off the rails a bit in the part where he argues that even granting that first cause arguments succeed (and Aquinas is mentioned specifically), these arguments don't tell us anything interesting about the nature of God, nor anything morally significant.

    It got me wondering, how much does he know about the arguments in Natural Theology outside of Kalam and Fine Tuning?

    Comment


    • #3
      His field of expertise is philosophy of physics but I doubt he ever studied Thomistic metaphysics in detail. On the other hand, I think he gave a new perspective by mentioning the significance of the moral relevance of God. Because if God is not morally relevant, why would anyone even bother with his existence/ or lack of thereof other than few people who are curious about the truth. But I guess most people are concerned about the role that God plays in one's life (meaning,morality, etc). For Tim, he simply mentioned euthythro dillema which casts doubt into moral relevance of God and to me this is a legitimate point. Besides, he also mentioned the example of two pro chess player parents who conceive a child only for him/her to become a chess player. The child however has no obligation to comply with his/her parents. That's why he says that morality cannot come from God.

      Personally, I am aware of Thomistic arguments for God's existence. Even though I am not fully convinced (which is due to lack of research on my side), I don't find them as weak as new atheists would. However, I actually feel like that Thomists or (even worse Divine command theorists like WLC for example) define God to be Good rather than demonstrating that he is Good. How can one get from the observation of the world which has no moral significance ( e.g the first cause argument does not in anyway deal with moral aspect of the world, it is just a elaboration of first cause for "changes" we see in the world) to a morally good God. I think the gap from Deism to Theism is far too large.
      Last edited by nojoum; 03-23-2019, 05:13 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Nojoum,

        Originally posted by nojoum View Post

        Personally, I am aware of Thomistic arguments for God's existence. Even though I am not fully convinced (which is due to lack of research on my side), I don't find them as weak as new atheists would. However, I actually feel like that Thomists or (even worse Divine command theorists like WLC for example) define God to be Good rather than demonstrating that he is Good. How can one get from the observation of the world which has no moral significance ( e.g the first cause argument does not in anyway deal with moral aspect of the world, it is just a elaboration of first cause for "changes" we see in the world) to a morally good God. I think the gap from Deism to Theism is far too large.
        I'm not familiar enough with WLC's arguments to comment on them but I don't think this is what is happening with Thomists.

        Thomistic first cause arguments, if successful, prove the existence of a cause which is Pure Actuality or Pure Being. In the Thomistic view things are more perfect the more actual they are and goodness is actually the same thing as being and truth (c.f. the transcendentals), so the first cause which is pure actuality is pure perfection and pure goodness. The rest of the standard attributes of a theistic God are also shown to be present in whatever is Pure Actuality, so this kind of argument proves the existence of a theistic God, not Deism.

        Another consequence of this kind of argument, if it is successful, is that it dissolves the Euthythro Dilemma via divine simplicity (I think there is more than one way of doing this, I seem to recall Craig making a different attempt in one discussion I watched). Finally, the analogy with this kind of God wouldn't be chess player parents, it would be something like Goodness causing the existence of things which then seek to manifest the Goodness of their cause as far as is possible for them. This kind of thing obviously does have something to do with morality.

        These are reasons why I didn't understand why Tim would grant that a Thomistic or Aristotelian First Cause argument succeeds, and then go on to make the points he did.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi FZM,

          Thanks a lot for taking the time to briefly explain the Thomistic argument which purports to the complete link from Deism to Theism.

          On its surface however, to me it seems such a radical claim to equate goodness with being and truth. I think we should first define what moral goodness is and then see if it actually corresponds, in the way Thomists mean, with being and truth. As far as I can see there is a gap there.

          Originally posted by FZM View Post

          it would be something like Goodness causing the existence of things which then seek to manifest the Goodness of their cause as far as is possible for them.

          .
          I would not put it as you said, I'd rather say that basically a thing should be seek to attain its final cause as it was conceived by God. For example, you have mosquitoes who spread malaria in humans. In no way, spreading malaria shows the goodness of the creator. I would actually argue it shows the evil side of the creator. But still if you argue based on final causes, it is doing what it is supposed to be doing and because of that It is good and in that sense it also shows the goodness of the creator. I think you may realize why I feel uncomfortable about this sort of morality. (This part was partly inspired by this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suvkwNYSQo)


          Regarding Tim, I think since his expertise is in philosophy of modern physics (quantum mechanics, philosophy of space and time, ...) he probably has dismissed Thomistic metaphysics without much consideration. That is also maybe why he equated fine tuning and "Kalam Cosmological" argument with first cause argument. Because as you clearly stated the first cause argument can with further analysis lead to theism.

          EDIT: Further expansion of my problem with Thomstic morality:
          One problem I see with Natural law (and I guess in essence with arguing for equating moral goodness with being and truth) is that the natural ideals themselves are taken as good. What If I a create new sentient and free beings with the final cause of exterminating human beings. On Natural law account you cannot claim these beings are evil since they are only following their final cause (which when interpreted by Natural law means that they are good). Natural law has nothing to say about these sort of situations and I think you would have the same problem if you try to equate goodness with being and truth. You need to first establish what is good and just pointing to supposed ideals based on one's nature is just avoiding the question. Continuing further you cannot know by yourself in anyway what Good is other than to look up to God since supposedly whatever God does is Good.
          Last edited by nojoum; 03-26-2019, 02:37 PM.

          Comment


          • #6



            Hi Noujoum,

            Thanks for the reply.

            Thanks a lot for taking the time to briefly explain the Thomistic argument which purports to the complete link from Deism to Theism.

            On its surface however, to me it seems such a radical claim to equate goodness with being and truth. I think we should first define what moral goodness is and then see if it actually corresponds, in the way Thomists mean, with being and truth. As far as I can see there is a logical gap there. I would not put it as you said, I'd rather say that basically a thing should be seek to attain its final cause as it was conceived by God. For example, you have mosquitoes who spread malaria in humans. In no way, spreading malaria shows the goodness of the creator. I would actually argue it shows the evil side of the creator. But still if you argue based on final causes, it is doing what it is supposed to be doing and because of that It is good and in that sense it also shows the goodness of the creator. I think you may realize why I feel uncomfortable about this sort of morality. (This part was partly inspired by this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suvkwNYSQo)
            It is quite a radical claim in some ways. But, trying to define what constitutes goodness seems to inevitably be informed by background metaphysical assumptions (Empiricist, Kantian etc.) about things like being and truth.

            For example, as you say, coming to the question with Aristotelian or Thomistic assumptions about natures and final causes it will be possible to say that mosquitoes are good, that even malaria is good in some way (though not for the health of humans, obviously). And, since from this perspective the idea of human morality is rooted in human nature and its particular final causes, judging God directly by the standards of human morality will be strange or awkward because he doesn't share a human nature or have human final causes to realize.

            That video takes me back a few years... I remember when it first appeared in the UK. At the time I had a few questions about it, what exactly Fry is trying to argue, parts are a little confusing but I suppose this is due to the format and the context in which he made the comments.

            One problem I see with Natural law (and I guess in essence with arguing for
            equating moral goodness with being and truth) is that the natural ideals
            themselves are taken as good. What If I a create new sentient and free beings
            with the final cause of exterminating human beings. On Natural law account you
            cannot claim these beings are evil since they are only following their final
            cause (which when interpreted by Natural law means that they are good).
            I don't know whether it is possible for you (or I, or even powerful archangels) to create new natural entities with final causes of their own. I think if a human created something like this it would count as a kind of composite object, an artefact or instrument rather than a genuine natural substance. And in this case it would be being employed by its human creator (given their nature) for some immoral end.

            Natural
            law has nothing to say about these sort of situations and I think you would have
            the same problem if you try to equate goodness with being and truth. You need to
            first establish what is good and just pointing to supposed ideals based on one's
            nature is just avoiding the question. Continuing further you cannot know by
            yourself in anyway what Good is other than to look up to God since supposedly
            whatever God does is Good.
            I don't understand how you would establish what is good for human beings without reference to human nature so it is hard for me to get what you mean here.

            Whatever God makes would be good. But that doesn't mean that it is therefore necessarily good for humans in terms of helping them to fulfill their natures, it could be mostly bad for them. If humans want to know what is good for humans they can use their reason to examine their own natures and additionally look to what God might tell or show them about themselves. But one of the features of natural law is that it is known by reason and not divine revelation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey

              Thanks for your reply. I will write a reply this Saturday/Sunday since I expect that the clear explanation of what I have in mind would take quite some time which I dont have during the week

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FZM View Post
                It is quite a radical claim in some ways. But, trying to define what constitutes goodness seems to inevitably be informed by background metaphysical assumptions (Empiricist, Kantian etc.) about things like being and truth.
                I see. Therefore, I need to study the justification for the metaphysical assumptions made by Aquinas. Would you please let me know of any sources where this topic is addressed?

                Originally posted by FZM View Post
                And, since from this perspective the idea of human morality is rooted in human nature and its particular final causes, judging God directly by the standards of human morality will be strange or awkward because he doesn't share a human nature or have human final causes to realize.
                This would open up a big can of worms both from practical point of view and philosophical point of view.

                Practically it would mean that at least any follower of any of the 3 major Abrahamic religion (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) can justify literally any conceivable action (Stoning of people who have sex outside of marriage or homosexuals) by just saying that this is the will of God and thus it is good. This is just a recipe for disaster. Another consequence is that one can even claim that in principle it is impossible to relate this Thomistic God to any God as revealed by any religion since the Thomistic God is simply too vaguely defined.

                From a philosophical point of view, this view of God seems just absurd to me. Since the nature of God is not only unknown (based on your argument, I cannot know what his nature is) but also seems not to be limited by any constraints, for the same action (Me committing adultery), God can both reward or punish me based on whatever his nature is (and whether he punishes me or rewards me, his action toward me is counted as good)[1] . Because based on what you said God acts according to his nature and as long he is acting according to his nature, whatever his nature may be, he is good.

                To summarize, there are two problems. First, there is an epistemic problem, how can we know God’s true nature considering the vastly different supposed revelations about God? Secondly, given Thomistic ethics there is no framework within which God’s nature can be evaluated (in terms of Goodness) and so God has been defined in such way that it is logically impossible for him to be immoral [2]. The reason is that given Thomistic arguments God acts according to his nature, whatever his nature may be, and as long he does so he is good. Thus ultimately, similar to divine command theory, Thomistic ethics cannot avoid the euthyphro dilemma.

                [1]. Just to be clear, I'm not meaning that one time God would punish me and the other time he rewards me. Rather, since there seem to be no constraint on what his nature can be, in one possible world he rewards me while in another one he punishes me.
                [2] I’m not sure if these were the best words to explain my thought. But basically, I feel like that no matter what God do, he is good; Even if he specifically punishes devout Christians or even Jesus eternally.


                Originally posted by FZM View Post
                I don't know whether it is possible for you (or I, or even powerful archangels) to create new natural entities with final causes of their own. I think if a human created something like this it would count as a kind of composite object, an artefact or instrument rather than a genuine natural substance. And in this case it would be being employed by its human creator (given their nature) for some immoral end.
                This Objection may be valid but is irrelevant. The spirit of my argument is that God can create a creature with the evillest nature and yet he and his creatures are counted as good. It seems that there is no hierarchy of goodness for the nature of God and his creatures.

                Although, I guess Thomistis might suggest that the nature of God is the ultimate ideal and all other natures are ranked based on how closely they resemble his nature. How convenient. As I said before, this notion is highly problematic that can be easily abused to justify any evil action committed by the major religions of the world. I guess the whole root of problem is the radical claim of equating goodness with being and truth.

                Originally posted by FZM View Post
                I don't understand how you would establish what is good for human beings without reference to human nature so it is hard for me to get what you mean here.

                Whatever God makes would be good. But that doesn't mean that it is therefore necessarily good for humans in terms of helping them to fulfill their natures, it could be mostly bad for them. If humans want to know what is good for humans they can use their reason to examine their own natures and additionally look to what God might tell or show them about themselves. But one of the features of natural law is that it is known by reason and not divine revelation.
                I guess I have already wrote a lot so I summarize my answer here. I also believe that human nature plays a role in establishing what is good or bad for human beings but unlike Thomists I don’t think that it is the only deciding factor. E.g You cannot avoid eating and drinking because of your nature but you can become a vegetarian which is more moral compared to eating meat. A better example is homosexuality which I don’t find problematic. It’s not black and white as one would like it to be. If you are interested, I can expand a bit more on this answer. At the moment, I am really tired after spending almost 2 hours for writing this post!!!

                I am really sorry for the long post but I think your replay demanded such answer.
                Last edited by nojoum; 03-30-2019, 04:40 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by nojoum View Post
                  given Thomistic arguments God acts according to his nature, whatever his nature may be, and as long he does so he is good. (To be frank, it is just divine command theory in disguise)
                  I don't see how. I mean I see how they have some similar content, strength and weakness but I don't see how they are somehow equivalent. Would you consider a particular theistic moral theory according to which morality depends on God's desires rather than commands just divine command theory in disguise?

                  Last edited by Calhoun; 03-30-2019, 03:21 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Calhoun View Post

                    I don't see how. I mean I see how they have some similar content, strength and weakness but I don't see how they are somehow equivalent. Would you consider a particular theistic moral theory according to which morality depends on God's desires rather than commands just divine command theory in disguise?
                    I'm sorry If I was not clear enough. For me the Thomistic argument fail at proving that God is Good and thus similar to divine command theory cannot avoid the Euthyphro dilemma.
                    Last edited by nojoum; 03-30-2019, 03:51 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nojoum View Post

                      I'm sorry If I was not clear enough. For me the Thomistic argument fail at proving that God is Good and thus similar to divine command theory cannot avoid the Euthyphro dilemma.
                      I see that. But again I would like to emphasize that this doesn't mean that they are ultimately equivalent.
                      As for Euthyphro dilemma I would agree with you but only insofar as that nothing can be ultimately proved to be Good. proof being some reductive explanation which would justify calling something "Good". The sense in which ED is used against theistic meta-ethics seems to me to just be equivalent to Moore's "Naturalistic Fallacy" or "Open question argument", this afflicts every Natural Ethical theory.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Calhoun View Post

                        I see that. But again I would like to emphasize that this doesn't mean that they are ultimately equivalent.
                        As for Euthyphro dilemma I would agree with you but only insofar as that nothing can be ultimately proved to be Good. proof being some reductive explanation which would justify calling something "Good". The sense in which ED is used against theistic meta-ethics seems to me to just be equivalent to Moore's "Naturalistic Fallacy" or "Open question argument", this afflicts every Natural Ethical theory.
                        Yeah, I think unintentionally I made a caricature by saying that Thomistic ethics is Divine command theory in disguise.

                        The whole point of this discussion here is that for me God seems irrelevant to both meaning of life and morality; or at least that it is an unjustified assumption about God. Especially if by God, one means about the being as "demonstrated" by Kalam Cosmological argument or Fine tuning argument. As I discussed above, also Thomistic argument seems to fail to justify relevance of God to morality and meaning.

                        To be honest, I am not aware of "Naturalistic Fallacy" or "open question argument" or even what you exactly mean by Natural ethical theory. I'm not even sure what you exactly meant by proof being "being some reductive explanation which would justify calling something "Good". I am philosophically illiterate.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nojoum View Post

                          Yeah, I think unintentionally I made a caricature by saying that Thomistic ethics is Divine command theory in disguise.
                          Right , No problem, I do see the point you're trying to make.

                          The whole point of this discussion here is that for me God seems irrelevant to both meaning of life and morality; or at least that it is an unjustified assumption about God. Especially if by God, one means about the being as "demonstrated" by Kalam Cosmological argument or Fine tuning argument. As I discussed above, also Thomistic argument seems to fail to justify relevance of God to morality and meaning.
                          Thats an interesting discussion. I would let User FZM reply to your response to his points.

                          To be honest, I am not aware of "Naturalistic Fallacy" or "open question argument" or even what you exactly mean by Natural ethical theory. I'm not even sure what you exactly meant by proof being "being some reductive explanation which would justify calling something "Good". I am philosophically illiterate.
                          Well the way I understand, Naturalistic Ethical theory means theory that attempts to define or analyse what "Good" is for example Divine Command Theory. Open question argument is that this can not be done because it always makes to ask sense about any natural property ( in this case a divine command) whether it is really "good", to say otherwise is to commit fallacy called Naturalistic fallacy. It seems to me Euthyphro dilemma makes same point w.r.t divine command theory.
                          Again I am speaking from what I understand here. Btw Not knowing about particular section of philosophy doesn't make one "philosophically illiterate" otherwise most philosophers even the very good ones are just that.

                          Comment


                          • #14


                            Hi Nojoum,

                            Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. This post is also going to be pretty long.

                            I see. Therefore, I need to study the justification for the metaphysical assumptions made by Aquinas. Would you please let me know of any sources where this topic is addressed?


                            Yes, this would be pretty important to understand what the Thomistic view is. I don't have a deep knowledge of Thomism, I can only recommend some introductory texts. I found Feser's book about Aquinas to be useful, Brian Davies wrote one called 'Aquinas' as well and Feser's manual 'Scholastic Metaphysics' is interesting on the core metaphysical assumptions. There is quite a lot of material on Feser's blog. There are further references in these books, the subject is very large.

                            A whole set of background ideas about Thomistic essentialism, the Five Ways and the nature of God, intellect, will and so on is probably important to understand where the Thomistic ideas about God and goodness are coming from.

                            Practically it would mean that at least any follower of any of the 3 major Abrahamic religion (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) can justify literally any conceivable action (Stoning of people who have sex outside of marriage or homosexuals) by just saying that this is the will of God and thus it is good. This is just a recipe for disaster. Another consequence is that one can even claim that in principle it is impossible to relate this Thomistic God to any God as revealed by any religion since the Thomistic God is simply too vaguely defined.

                            From a philosophical point of view, this view of God seems just absurd to me. Since the nature of God is not only unknown (based on your argument, I cannot know what his nature is) but also seems not to be limited by any constraints, for the same action (Me committing adultery), God can both reward or punish me based on whatever his nature is (and whether he punishes me or rewards me, his action toward me is counted as good)[1] . Because based on what you said God acts according to his nature and as long he is acting according to his nature, whatever his nature may be, he is good.
                            It is true that in Thomism the nature of God can’t be known. Since God is shown to be pure being or existence itself and the cause of all created natures, knowing God’s nature would be like laying a claim to exhaustive knowledge of what this would amount to.

                            Thomists reject divine voluntarism, so God willing arbitrary things for his creatures regardless of their natures is not possible. The divine intellect is considered to be dominant, the will follows the intellect, so God understands what human nature is, recognises the relevant final causes of human activity and wills for humans what is appropriate for them to attain these final causes and realise their natures.

                            The constraints on what God might will for humans will be dependent on the content of human nature, and what is required to realise it as fully as possible.

                            God is not judged as good because he fulfils his own nature, like a good example of the kind or species of thing ‘God’. (e.g. what I mentioned above God is above any genus and species so not identifiable in this way). The reasons God is considered good are more because being is the basis of any goodness and God is pure or inexhaustible being, God is completely actual and therefore supremely desirable, God is the source of all final causes and the perfect model of each created nature exists within him etc.

                            The problem I see with the Thomistic account of human morality may be related to what Calhoun has suggested; the possibility for disagreement and uncertainty about what exactly human nature and human final causes are, and what our sources of knowledge about this may be (reason and experience, divine revelation etc.). But disagreements and the impossibility of proving some of these things definitively are problems for many moral systems, theistic or otherwise.

                            To summarize, there are two problems. First, there is an epistemic problem, how can we know God’s true nature considering the vastly different supposed revelations about God? Secondly, given Thomistic ethics there is no framework within which God’s nature can be evaluated (in terms of Goodness) and so God has been defined in such way that it is logically impossible for him to be immoral [2]. The reason is that given Thomistic arguments God acts according to his nature, whatever his nature may be, and as long he does so he is good. Thus ultimately, similar to divine command theory, Thomistic ethics cannot avoid the euthyphro dilemma.
                            As I said, God’s nature is considered unknowable, However, it isn’t necessary to have a full account of God’s nature to consider him good.

                            I think it is hard to think of a possible framework in which pure being, the cause or source of all being, could be ‘evaluated’ against moral criteria. And God is demonstrated to be this by other unrelated arguments, not just defined in this way. It does follow that it is logically impossible for God to be immoral, in Thomism immorality implies ignorance and having an imperfect intellect or will. If God was immoral it would mean God was other than pure act, but God is known to be pure act.

                            I don’t think the Euthyphro dilemma is all that relevant here. As I understand it, it is supposed to show that either what is good is completely arbitrary or based on something outside of God. But in this Thomistic view what God wills as good for creatures is neither arbitrary nor based on something external to God.

                            This Objection may be valid but is irrelevant. The spirit of my argument is that God can create a creature with the evillest nature and yet he and his creatures are counted as good. It seems that there is no hierarchy of goodness for the nature of God and his creatures.
                            Thomists usually hold to the privation theory of evil; evil is a lack or absence of being where being should be. The evillest being would therefore be the most non-actual or non-existent being. Or I suppose a severely impaired being, incapable of realising its own nature.

                            What you describe would also look something like God making good out of bad, one creature perishes and this is bad, but only so that another can thrive and fulfil its nature. It seems that extinction of humans on earth as we know them will ultimately happen one way or another.

                            Although, I guess Thomistis might suggest that the nature of God is the ultimate ideal and all other natures are ranked based on how closely they resemble his nature. How convenient. As I said before, this notion is highly problematic that can be easily abused to justify any evil action committed by the major religions of the world. I guess the whole root of problem is the radical claim of equating goodness with being and truth.
                            I don’t understand the importance of ‘ranking’ things or natures here, in moral terms at least.

                            All substances could be ranked by how actual they can be, and God is pure actuality, so things might be ‘ranked’ as to how closely they manifest God. But this is not like saying that Angels or God have greater levels of conformity to ideal human morality and for this reason are better, insects or animals have less and are somehow worse or something like that.

                            This notion can’t be abused so easily in the way you suggest because human beings cannot appeal to the actions or behaviour of God, or angels etc. as models to justify their own behaviour; they don’t share the same natures, they don’t have the same powers, they don’t have the same kind of knowledge.

                            If you wanted to abuse it, it seems it would have to be done by saying that God or angels had a deeper knowledge of human nature and what was actually good for humans than humans do themselves, but this would be a different thing, as I mentioned above.

                            You haven’t put forward any alternative analysis of goodness or morality which would be immune to being used to justify any evil action, I think this is a difficult thing to do.

                            I guess I have already wrote a lot so I summarize my answer here. I also believe that human nature plays a role in establishing what is good or bad for human beings but unlike Thomists I don’t think that it is the only deciding factor. E.g You cannot avoid eating and drinking because of your nature but you can become a vegetarian which is more moral compared to eating meat.
                            It seems like Thomists could have a broader idea of what human nature is and includes; they mean something like the substantial form of the human, it can include moral content and dispositions (e.g. displaying the old cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, as well as the need to eat and drink, have children etc.)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nojoum View Post

                              Yeah, I think unintentionally I made a caricature by saying that Thomistic ethics is Divine command theory in disguise.

                              The whole point of this discussion here is that for me God seems irrelevant to both meaning of life and morality; or at least that it is an unjustified assumption about God. Especially if by God, one means about the being as "demonstrated" by Kalam Cosmological argument or Fine tuning argument. As I discussed above, also Thomistic argument seems to fail to justify relevance of God to morality and meaning.
                              This is something I find strange. If the Thomistic arguments about the existence of God were true, a lot of moral theories would be eliminated. All of the anti-realist, subjectivist or emotivist ones, for example. It would establish some form of moral realism as being correct, probably also some form of virtue ethics.

                              The plausibility of one of the monotheistic religions containing actual revelation from God would be increased, there seems to be some bearing on the survival of human souls after corporeal death, there is the possibility of union with and participation in God and so on.

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