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The muʿtazila's arguments against divine command theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2021

Hashem Morvarid*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1424 UH, 601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL60607, USA

Abstract

The Muʿtazilī theologians, particularly the later Imāmī ones, developed numerous interesting arguments against divine command theory. The arguments, however, have not received the attention they deserve. Some of the arguments have been discussed in passing, and some have not been discussed at all. In this article, I aim to present and analyse the arguments. To that end, I first distinguish between different semantic, ontological, epistemological, and theological theses that were often conflated in the debate, and examine the logical relation among them. Then I go over the Muʿtazila's arguments determining, among other things, which of the theses was targeted by each argument. In presenting the arguments, I focus mainly on the late kalām period, the period falling roughly between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries of the common era, as the arguments were at their most sophisticated level by this time.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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