American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 94, Issue 3, Summer 2020

J. Caleb Clanton, Kraig Martin
Pages 405-429

William of Ockham, Andrew of Neufchateau, and the Origins of Divine Command Theory

William of Ockham is often thought to be the medieval progenitor of divine command theory (hereafter DCT). This paper contends that the origin of a thoroughgoing and fully reductive DCT position is perhaps more appropriately laid at the feet of Andrew of Neufchateau. We begin with a brief recapitulation of an interpretive dispute surrounding Ockham in order to highlight how there is enough ambiguity in his work about the metaphysical foundations of morality to warrant suspicion about whether he actually stands at the origin of DCT. We then show how all such ambiguity is jettisoned in the work of Andrew, who explicitly rejects a position similar to one plausibly attributable to Ockham and also articulates a fully reductive DCT.