Volume 98, Issue 2, April 2021
Special Issue: Islamic Philosophy and Contemporary Philosophy of Religion
Revelation, Moral Skepticism, and the Mu'tazilites
Facing morally controversial passages in Scripture, many Muslims find themselves forced to choose between accepting the dictates of Scripture and trusting their modern moral sensibilities. Let’s call the view that our independent moral judgment is not reliable when it is in conflict with the apparent meaning of Scripture, moderate moral skepticism. Assuming the falsity of the divine command theory, I will explore the argument for moderate moral skepticism by discussing the ideas of the Mu‘tazilite theologian, Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar al-Hamadani (935–1025). My hope is that the discussion of the ideas of ‘Abd al-Jabbar helps us to see why the argument for moderate moral skepticism is appealing and what is the best way to resist the argument.