Value, Transcendence and Analogy


  • Gabriele De Anna University of Bamberg, Germany and University of Udine, Italy



Value, naturalism, supernaturalism, transcendence, analogy


Current naturalistic accounts of value face the problem of explaining the normative constraints that value impose on agents. Attempts to solve this problem have progressively relaxed the strictness of naturalistic requirements, up to the point of seeking theistic solutions. However, appeals to God are also problematic, since it is questionable that a relevant notion of God is conceivable at all: if God is wholly other He cannot matter for our choices and if He is a being among natural beings He cannot explain our normative constraints. Engaging a discussion with Fiona Ellis’ treatment of the problem, this essay sketches an account of transcendence, which vindicates the conceivability of a notion of God suitable for the explanation of value. The proposal rests on the possibility of transcendental arguments based on analogy.


Cottingham, John. 2009. Why Believe? Continuum.

De Anna, Gabriele. 2017. “Theism and the Ontological Ground of Moral Realism.” In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontology of Theistic Beliefs: Meta-Ontological Perspectives. Berlin: De Gruyter.

De Anna, Gabriele. 2016. “Human Action and Moral Realism”, in: Ethics and Politics 18 (2): 25-37.

De Anna, Gabriele. 2015. “Realism, Human Action and Political Life. On the Political Dimension of Individual Choices”, in: Moral realism and political decisions. Practical rationality in public contexts, edited by Gabriele De Anna and Riccardo Martinelli. Bamberg University Press.

Ellis, Fiona. 2014. God, Value and Nature. Oxford University Press.

Joyce, Richard. 2006. The Evolution of Morality. MIT Press.

Haldane, John. 2009. “Metaphysical (Im)mortality and Philosophical Transcendence,” in: Conceptions of Philosophy, edited by Anthony O’Hear. Cambridge University Press.

Levinas, Emmanuel. 1986. Of God Who Comes to Mind. Translated by Bettina Bergo. Stanford University Press, 1998.

McDowell, John. 1998. Mind, Value, and Reality. Harvard University Press.

Mackie, John. 1977. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. Viking Press.

NagelNagel, Thomas. 2012. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is almost Certainly False. Oxford University Press.

Railton, Peter. 1986. “Moral Realism”, in: The Philosophical Review 95, 163–207.

Srawson, Oeter. 1959. Individuals: An Essay in descriptive Metaphysics. Methuen.

Van Inwagen. Petet. 1988. “The Place of Chance in a World Sustained by God,” in: Divine and Human Action, edited by Thomas Morris. Cornell University Press; now in Peter van Inwagen, God, Knowledge & Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology. Cornell University Press, 1995.

Wiggins, David. 1991. Needs, Values, Truth: Essays in the Philosophy of Value. Oxford University Press.

Wright, John W. 2005. “Transcendence without Reality”, in: Philosophy 80, 361-384.




How to Cite

De Anna, Gabriele. 2018. “Value, Transcendence and Analogy”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (2):105-29.



Research Articles