Talk:Divine command theory/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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Reviewer: Mark Arsten (talk · contribs) 19:21, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Will review, comments to follow this weekend, hopefully. Mark Arsten (talk) 19:21, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Ok, finished my read through, I'll try to get my thoughts written out in more detail over the next couple days. First of all, this is very interesting/thought provoking and was enjoyable to read/very informative. The first issue I want to mention is that some copyediting is needed. You might just want to read over the article again slowly. Some prose issues I spotted:
  • "The theory, and the importance of God's commands or will in establishing morality, has often accepted by followers of various monotheistic and polytheistic religions, both ancient and modern."
  • "Is also casts God as sovereign, because he remains the source of morality and is himself the moral law."
  • "Adams does not propose that it would be logically impossible for God to command cruelty, rather that it would be unthinkable for God to do so because of his nature. He emphasised the importance of faith in God, " (change in tense)
  • "and that right and wrong is tied to their belief in God;" I think this should be "are" instead of "is", there is a similar issue in the first sentence I quoted here.
  • "Austin content that commanding cruelty for its own sake is not illogical, so is not covered by Aquinas' defence"
  • "Hugh Storer Chandler has challenged the theory based on modal ideas of what might exist in different world."
  • Will post more detailed/less obvious issues later. My main concerns are about flow, some parts read fairly choppy, although I guess that's unavoidable to some extent. A few bits are hard to understand, but it should be possible to smooth them out a bit. Mark Arsten (talk) 01:34, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Ok, here's a few more observations:
  • "Hare challenges this view, arguing that Kantian ethics should be seen as compatible with divine command theory." Which Hare? There are two of them mentioned in this paragraph.
  • "American philosopher William Alston attempted to defend divine command by making the view philosophically strong." Should probably explain what "philosophically strong" means.
  • I feel like the number of short sections breaks the flow of the article a bit. Paul Copan and Moral motivation are particularly small, could they be expanded/combined with others?
  • First paragraph of Alston and Moral motivation are somewhat confusing, you might want to take another look at that one.
  • Is there a way that the Semantic section could be tweaked to flow a bit more? Mark Arsten (talk) 17:16, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The initial two sentences are Ok, but I feel like they could express the concept a bit more clearly and concisely. I can try to help with that if you want.
  • Should it be "divine command theory" or "the divine command theory"? Same question for "Natural law"
  • "Various forms of divine command theory have been presented in the past by philosophers including William Ockham, St Augustine, Duns Scotus, and John Calvin. It teaches that moral truth does not exist independently of God " You should probably write out what "It" is here.
  • It looks like the Austin source is repeated, should use the Ref name for that.
  • "American philosopher William Alston attempted to defend divine command by making the view philosophically strong." I'm not sure that you should shorten the theory to "divine command", since it's unclear if specific divine commands or the theory in general is being referred to.
  • It's hard to avoid, but see if you can cut down on repetition of "God" at all.
  • The end of the first paragraph of Robert Adams needs a citation.
  • Minor issue, but you might want to work some of the terms from See also into the body of the article if you can. Mark Arsten (talk) 17:44, 3 September 2012 (UTC)


Thank you very much. I have dealt with all of those issues, and also gone through and copyedited the article. Is there anything else that needs work? ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:10, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed your later post - I'll check through that now. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 20:10, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, I have resolved those issues too. A few answers: all the sources I have every seen refer to "divine command theory" and "natural law", without the definite article. Also, Austin is repeated in the references because each one links to a different section of the webpage, to make it easier to find the relevant content. I think that's all; is there anything else? ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:09, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I read through the article again and it looks much improved from the first read I did. I have a few more small comments, then I'll likely be willing to promote. Mark Arsten (talk) 23:48, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  • You note its wide acceptance at the end of the lead, you might consider moving that closer to the beginning.
  • One possibly unresolved issue is "American philosopher William Alston attempted to defend divine command by making the view philosophically strong and capable of standing up to philosophical criticism." I'm still a bit unclear about what "philosophically strong" means here.
  • "If cruelty was commanded, he would not be loving; Adams argued that, in this instance, God's commands would not have to be obeyed and also that his theory of ethical wrongness would break down." This is the first we hear of Adams, he's introduced in the next paragraph.
  • "Adams emphasises the importance of faith in God, including faith in God's goodness as well as his existence." I think I see what you're saying here, but you might try to tie this in with the theory more explicitly.
  • "The theory casts God as a good example for morality, and humans imitate his virtues as much as is possible for finite, imperfect beings." Just to be clear, she this saying that humans do imitate his virtues as much as possible, or should imitate as much as possible?
  • In "Moral motivation" you note that Austin says the theory "could be" criticised in one way and that he "writes of" a criticism, are these his views? Or is he just stating that they exist?
  • "Leibniz, and other recent philosophers, challenged the theory because" I have a little trouble seeing Leibniz as a recent philosopher, so I'd suggest changing "other" to "some" here.
  • "The theory is supported by the view that God is all-powerful because the existence of moral truths do not threaten his omnipotence." I'm still a little unclear what this sentence means, could you try tweaking it a bit?
  • Otherwise, that's all I have to say about this! Mark Arsten (talk) 23:48, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I have made all those changes, thanks. A significant issue which I missed that you drew attention to was the Alston paragraph which mentioned Adams. The first mention of Alston was a typo - it should have been Adams - and the whole paragraph should have been in his section. I have fixed that, and moved the remaining Alston paragraph to the Euthyphro dilemma, because he deals directly with that (I have alsot slightly changed the wording there so that it fits better and flows nicely). Thanks for drawing my attention to that - I had completely missed it. If there's anything in that change which could do with improvement, please let me know; otherwise, thank you for your review. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 11:42, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Alright, looks good, I'll pass this now. Very interesting article, gave my brain a workout :) Mark Arsten (talk) 13:32, 5 September 2012 (UTC)