0
Jump to main content

No God, no ethics?

Martin Jakobsen at the Faculty of Humanities and Education has submitted his thesis entitled «Moral realism and the existence of God. Improving Parfit´s metaethics” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Tuesday 21 May 2019. (Photo: Private)

In other words, if one brings God into Parfit’s theory, then one can solve these problems, and then Parfit’s theory of ethics becomes much better.

Martin Jakobsen

PhD-Candidate and Assistant Professor

Martin Jakobsen at the Faculty of Humanities and Education has submitted his thesis entitled «Moral realism and the existence of God. Improving Parfit´s metaethics” and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Tuesday 21 May 2019.

Martin Jakobsen has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Humanities and Education with Specialisation in Religion, Ethics, History and Society.

Summary of the thesis by Martin Jakobsen:

No God, no ethics?

In the autumn of 2017, theologians and philosophers – in the VG, Dagbladet, Aftenposten, and Morgenbladet newspapers – discussed whether ethics are dependent on God. If there is no God, can good and evil exist?

The world-famous philosopher Derek Parfit presents a theory of ethics in his book “On What Matters” – a theory in which ethics are not dependent on God.

Problems with Parfit’s theory

I argue that Parfit’s theory of ethics has some problems; namely how ethical truths can exist, the normative power of ethics, and how we can explain that we possess ethical knowledge.

Moreover, I argue that these issues can be solved with the help of theology.

In other words, if one brings God into Parfit’s theory, then one can solve these problems, and then Parfit’s theory of ethics becomes much better.

In the thesis, I show how Parfit’s theory of ethics can be improved.

Theology useful for philosophy

I also demonstrate how theology can be useful for modern philosophy, and useful for solving philosophical and ethical foundational problems.

Finally, I show how ethics can give a reason to believe that God exists: If an objective ethics can be better explained with God rather than without, then such a theory of ethics speaks for the existence of a God.

Disputation facts:

The Candidate: Martin Jakobsen, (1989), BA in Philosophy, UiO (2012), BA in Religion, MF (Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society) (2012), Master degree in Religion, MF (2014). Now employed as an Assistant Professor at  ved Ansgar theologocal college in Kristiansand.

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place at Gabriel Scotts auditorium – B1-001, Campus Kristiansand.

Dean Sunniva Whittaker will chair the disputation.

Trial lecture at 10:0 a.m.

Public defense at 12:00 noon

Given topic for trial lecture“The Role of Christian Moral Realism in a Pluralistic Secular Society’s Moral Discourse”

Thesis title: «Moral realism and the existence of God. Improving Parfit´s metaethics».

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder. The thesis will also be available at the University Library, and some copies will also be available for loan at the auditorium where the disputation takes place.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Jaana Hallamaa, University of Helsinki

Second opponent: Professor Henrik Syse, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Professor Odin Lysaker, University in Agder is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor Jan-Olav Henriksen, MF (Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society) and University of Agder, (main supervisor) and Professor Einar Duenger Bøhn, University of Agder (co-supervisor)

Share study by email