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The Source Of Morality: Euthyphro's Dilemma

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posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 07:25 AM
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Euthyphro's Dilemma is an argument arising from the writings of Plato. The text can be located HERE

The story brings to the forefront the argument of morality and whether it is derived from God(s), a.k.a. Divine Command Theory. The dilemma, in short, is as follows: is a thing moral because God says it is moral, or does God say it is moral because it is inherently moral. This brings up interesting quandaries.

If something is moral simply because God says so, then morality is arbitrary and could change at any given moment. This is problematic since god could, given his omnipotence for example, on a whim declare rape or murder (things we instinctively feel are immoral) to be moral actions and we cannot argue against it. We don't desire a morality dictated arbitrarily and by fiat, and this makes God the equivalent of a dictator. Additionally, if this is the case, God faces the emptiness problem, the arbitrariness problem and the problem of abhorrent commands. This option appears to render Divine Command Theory false.

If something is inherently and objectively moral and God is simply reporting on something's morality, then He cannot be the source of it and is subject to some outside standard. This implies a standard above God which he must bow to. This removes significant power from the perceived nature of God and introduces the independence problem. This option appears to render render Divine Command Theory false.

Let's review:

1.Either:
(1a). The Good is willed by God because it is the Good.
(1b). The Good is the Good because it is willed by God.

2. If (1a) is true, then the Good is independent of God’s will.
3. If (2) is true, then God did not create the Good, and is not Creator.
4. If (1b) is true, then the Good is contingent and subjective (to God’s will).
5. If (4) is true, then there is no objective standard of morality, and the absolute of value-selection is false.

Arguments for atheism include an additional line:
6. God does not exist. (from 1, 3 and 5)

Euthypro's Dilemma also arises in other writings without ever referring to it as such:

"The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are then in this situation: is that difference due to God's fiat or is it not? If it is due to God's fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good."

-Bertrand Russell
---------

There are some counter arguments to the Euthyphro Dilemma, though I shall refrain from addressing them preemptively in order to hopefully stimulate some conversation. But, to summarize, Euthyphro's Dilemma is considered an excellent argument against the theory that morals are derived from a divine source (God).




posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 07:49 AM
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Easy: connect with your true nature. You will automatically know what is right. I think that the lack of ethics (psychopathy) is a form of disfunction. An healthy person knows what's right.

Nobody knows what "god" is. Like I have said many times earlies, we cannot possibly understand the motives of "god". Just as I view the TOE. I think the idea is absurd. The universe is way too complex to put into single theory. It's like trying to explain "life" by text. It just doesn't work that way.

I think, when entering certain level, concepts like good and evil completely vanish. There is only functionality: will it work or not? If it works, and it's good. If it doesn't, well..

Let's say, "bad" good be considered as destructive. It doesn't work, because it's destructive. Destructive things have shorter lifespan. Maybe some aspects of "god" could be considered evil. Or we may not just yet understand why things are the way the are.

Who knows.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 07:50 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


What exactly is point of this post?



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 07:52 AM
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Originally posted by Purushottama
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


What exactly is point of this post?


To discuss the source of morality. Many people on this board contend morality is sourced to God(s), yet the dilemma indicates otherwise.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by Purushottama
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


What exactly is point of this post?


To discuss the source of morality. Many people on this board contend morality is sourced to God(s), yet the dilemma indicates otherwise.


Source of morality is society, people you grow with etc. Why do you think people living in different places, countries etc have different morales.

Something we call morality is constantly evolving, it never stays same. Few hundred years ago most people didnt see anything wrong with owning slave. Even now there are people who discriminate others based on race, sexuality etc etc. Why it's not moral to have one night stand as some people claim? If you ask me there's nothing wrong.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by Tryptych
Easy: connect with your true nature. You will automatically know what is right. I think that the lack of ethics (psychopathy) is a form of disfunction. An healthy person knows what's right.


How is it "automatic" and how do we know what is right and wrong? I have my idea but I'm interested in yours.


Nobody knows what "god" is. Like I have said many times earlies, we cannot possibly understand the motives of "god". Just as I view the TOE. I think the idea is absurd. The universe is way too complex to put into single theory. It's like trying to explain "life" by text. It just doesn't work that way.


Additionally, nobody knows whether there actually is a god. But for the sake of this argument we'll have to accept that there is, and that he/she/it takes a stance on morality.


I think, when entering certain level, concepts like good and evil completely vanish. There is only functionality: will it work or not? If it works, and it's good. If it doesn't, well..


The concept of good and evil are simply human interpretations of actions. Few things could be considered inherently good or evil because different people may view the same action as either good or evil.


Let's say, "bad" good be considered as destructive. It doesn't work, because it's destructive. Destructive things have shorter lifespan. Maybe some aspects of "god" could be considered evil. Or we may not just yet understand why things are the way the are.

Who knows.


If some aspects of "god" could be considered evil, then the argument for morality sourced to god(s) (Divine Command Theory) is called into question



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:01 AM
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If God is the judge, He makes the rules, whether anyone likes it or not.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:03 AM
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Originally posted by Purushottama
Source of morality is society, people you grow with etc. Why do you think people living in different places, countries etc have different morales.

Something we call morality is constantly evolving, it never stays same. Few hundred years ago most people didnt see anything wrong with owning slave. Even now there are people who discriminate others based on race, sexuality etc etc. Why it's not moral to have one night stand as some people claim? If you ask me there's nothing wrong.


I agree with you entirely. I recognize morality to be a matter of social contract and entirely subjective. The OP is designed to provide an exhaustive dilemma for those insisting that morality is derived from a divine source (gods).



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by 547000
If God is the judge, He makes the rules, whether anyone likes it or not.


This statement raises the dilemma again....

By what standard is God using to judge one's actions? Is what is acceptable to God that which God says to do? Or does God say to do certain things because they are inherently acceptable?


edit on 12-1-2011 by traditionaldrummer because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by Purushottama
Source of morality is society, people you grow with etc. Why do you think people living in different places, countries etc have different morales.

Something we call morality is constantly evolving, it never stays same. Few hundred years ago most people didnt see anything wrong with owning slave. Even now there are people who discriminate others based on race, sexuality etc etc. Why it's not moral to have one night stand as some people claim? If you ask me there's nothing wrong.


I agree with you entirely. I recognize morality to be a matter of social contract and entirely subjective. The OP is designed to provide an exhaustive dilemma for those insisting that morality is derived from a divine source (gods).


Well before one assume morality comes from God he/she must have some evidence that God actually exists and isn't just product of imagination.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:11 AM
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Originally posted by Purushottama
Well before one assume morality comes from God he/she must have some evidence that God actually exists and isn't just product of imagination.


Once again, I agree with you entirely.

Though, the theist accepts that there is a god(s) and very often assumes that all morality is derived from that divine source. I'd be surprised if you hadn't heard this argument from theists at some point.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:12 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


God makes His own standard, and what He says is the law; God doesn't need a standard to follow--but we need to follow His standards, since He's the final judge of whether you are good or evil, and what He says goes.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


God makes His own standard, and what He says is the law; God doesn't need a standard to follow--but we need to follow His standards, since He's the final judge of whether you are good or evil, and what He says goes.


Then you argue that whatever God says is good must therefore be good. So, if later today, God appeared to you and claimed that raping your neighbor's daughter was good and commanded you to do so, you would be unable to argue against such an action. Would you then follow His command? If so, why? If not, why not?



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:23 AM
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Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


God makes His own standard, and what He says is the law; God doesn't need a standard to follow--but we need to follow His standards, since He's the final judge of whether you are good or evil, and what He says goes.


Hm, as we know God has changed God's mind before, so if what he says is law, and God appears on earth, and says the Law is "Killing and raping and assorted other delightful things is what is good now, turning the cheek is for wimps" would you change your behaviour?

It's a slippery slope with a God who, by God's own words "“...form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

Edit: LoL traditional...two minds one thought

edit on 12-1-2011 by scratchmane because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:25 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I would doubt it's the voice of God. As we know, many people claim to meet with spirits, and spirits all say contradictory things. Which is why, if we have a payment for our sins, we know even though we broke the commandment of the absolute judge we are forgiven for our mistakes/doubts. God did ask a man to sacrifice His son, something almost no one can bare, as a test of faith, but in the end told him not to because the man had pure obedience and was going to carry forward.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:29 AM
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Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I would doubt it's the voice of God.


Then by what standard would you make your judgment? Presumably you are using your own sense of morality, that which could not have originated from God.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that this was God and this is what he said. This is not unheard of, by the way. For example, in Numbers 31:1-54 God commands Moses and his army to "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." The army comes back with 32,000 virgins after doing God's will.

Being that God will occasionally command such things as murder, if he told you to do so, would you? If so, why? If not, why not?



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:30 AM
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reply to post by scratchmane
 


Well, He did send prophets to correct the Jews, but they killed them. He sent His Son, they killed Him too, but we see that most of the true faith is to a) love God; b) love your neighbor as yourself. Which is why even the coveting of what others own is forbidden. Such is the degree of righteousness he judges with.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:38 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


Good question. Somehow I think Moses took creative liberties with what God said, which is why the devils and angels had an argument about him, as Jesus said. Knowing what I know now, including the experiences I've had, I don't think I would obey. But had I been a Jew all those years ago, I would probably obey. Yes, the threat of Hell can scare people into doing things they dislike, but even the clergymen will be judged on the Day of the Lord.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


One thing I find interesting: accept that there is a "god"? Do you find it somehow threatning that there might be a higher power? I know I don't. I think that the idea of some kind of a cosmic tyrant is pretty absurd.

I don't think that "god" is anything personal. Actually, even Christianity suggests this: "god" is a trinity. So: GOD IS A SCHIZOPHRENIC
. Maybe, if we want to understand the concept of "god" we have to look into the big bang theory and how all this started. But most of all, look into ourselves. We need to understand consciousness. Maybe then, we get a small glimpse into what "god" actually "is".

Sorry, I try to avoid all the psychedelic clishes here



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


God makes His own standard, and what He says is the law; God doesn't need a standard to follow--but we need to follow His standards, since He's the final judge of whether you are good or evil, and what He says goes.


Then you argue that whatever God says is good must therefore be good. So, if later today, God appeared to you and claimed that raping your neighbor's daughter was good and commanded you to do so, you would be unable to argue against such an action. Would you then follow His command? If so, why? If not, why not?


That's the handy thing about a reasoned faith. God would not come round and say that, so I would know that I'm going goofy.

The Christian view (not sure about other Abrahamic faiths, though I think they're along the same lines) is that God is unchanging, unchangeable, really. I wrote up a post about that here, that might clarify what I mean without having to restate it. We believe that God is love, just and good. He is what we aspire to be. It is clear that raping my neighbour's daughter is neither just nor good, so God would not tell anyone to do that.

Within that, yes, God rules by decree, determines what is right and wrong, and judges accordingly. But that has nothing to do with you, here. If you want to go along with him, go along with him. If you don't, don't. So long as you are not living in a theocracy, snubbing your nose at God and his rules shouldn't really have any impact on your mortal existence.

I had a long conversation with my daughter a month or so ago, about the problems inherent in our country, as regards economics, governance and the political system that the West has evolved into. The best form of government, I told her, would be a benevolent dictatorship by a completely selfless person, who was fully enlightened, able to see the short and long term ramifications of the decisions that they made, and had the goal of the improvement of the lives of all.

Sadly, I mused, such a person does not, and likely cannot, exist, and even if they did, they would eventually die or get corrupted in some manner, and then we're right back in a mess. We then moved on to another topic.

She did not, I think, get my point.


(And, lest one think so, I am NOT, in any way, suggesting that a theocracy, or even a "rule of God through man" is desirable. If the United States ever even hinted that it was going in that direction, I would move back across the border.)



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