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Chapter 1 - God and Consequences

The Path to Locke

from Part I - The Emergence of the Rule-Consequentialist Paradox

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2021

Alex Tuckness
Affiliation:
Iowa State University
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Summary

In Grotius, Cumberland, and Locke we see the basic elements of the theological version of morality as legislation. Grotius used a framework of evaluating the consequences of different possible rules for fallible, biased people as a way of determining what ought to be done. Cumberland provided a theory of right in which all the content of all divine laws could be traced back to one divine attribute, benevolence. Locke, while less systematically consequentialist than Cumberland, had a hedonistic theory of the good, an account of God that also emphasized benevolence, and (most interestingly) a willingness to press very hard on the legislative metaphor in order to establish the correct content of natural law when it was in dispute. Locke imagines God as a legislator using precisely the structure of rationality that a human legislator would use in contemplating which law to pass, including problems of biased and fallible execution of the law. Locke’s use is clearly counterfactual. It is probably not a coincidence that both Locke and Cumberland were strong supporters of new scientific theories that sought to understand nature by means of natural laws.

Type
Chapter
Information
Morality as Legislation
Rules and Consequences
, pp. 33 - 57
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • God and Consequences
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.002
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  • God and Consequences
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.002
Available formats
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • God and Consequences
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.002
Available formats
×