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Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2013

Richard Brian Davis, W. Paul Franks
Pages 170-179
DOI: 10.5840/Philo201316212

Layman’s Lapse: On an Incomplete Moral Argument for Theism

C. Stephen Layman contends that an argument supporting theism over naturalism can be constructed based on three defensible, non–question-begging premises about the moral order. Previous critics of Layman’s argument have challenged the truth of these premises. We stipulate them arguendo but go on to show that there is a deeper problem: a fourth premise introduced to complete the argument—the “completion premise,” as we call it—is true only if we assume that God exists (begging the question about naturalism) or we concede that there is no afterlife (contrary to theism). We close with suggestions for how Layman’s argument must be strengthened to meet with dialectical success.

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