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Philosophia Christi

Volume 21, Issue 1, 2019

20th Anniversary Edition

Jonathan Ashbach
Pages 135-151
DOI: 10.5840/pc201921114

The Phenomenological Moral Argument
A New Formulation of a Classic Theistic Defense

The moral argument for the existence of God is a popular and rhetorically effective element of natural theology, but both its traditional ontological and epistemological forms rely upon controversial premises. This article proposes a new variant—the phenomenological moral argument, or PMA—that is exclusively empirical in form. The PMA notes several empirical aspects of moral experience (seven are discussed in the version presented here) that cohere much more naturally with a theistic than with an atheistic account of conscience’s origins. It therefore concludes that divine creation best explains the nature of moral experience, and thus, that God exists.