The problem of arbitrary requirements: an abrahamic perspective

Sara Aronowitz, Marilie Coetsee, Amir Saemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some religious requirements seem genuinely arbitrary in the sense that there seem to be no sufficient explanation of why those requirements with those contents should pertain. This paper aims to understand exactly what it might mean for a religious requirement to be genuinely arbitrary and to discern whether and how a religious practitioner could ever be rational in obeying such a requirement (even with full knowledge of its arbitrariness). We lay out four accounts of what such arbitrariness could consist in, and show how each account provides a different sort of baseline for understanding how obedience to arbitrary requirements could, in principle, be rational.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-242
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbitrary requirements
  • Rationality of religious requirements
  • Religious obligations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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