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The dilemma[ edit ] Socrates and Euthyphro discuss the nature of piety in Plato's Euthyphro. Euthyphro then revises his definition, so that piety is only that which is loved by all of the gods unanimously 9e.
At this point the dilemma surfaces.
Socrates asks whether the gods love the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it is loved by the gods 10a. Socrates and Euthyphro both contemplate the first option: But this means, Socrates argues, that we are forced to reject the second option: Socrates points out that if both options were true, they together would yield a vicious circle, with the gods loving the pious because it is the pious, and the pious being the pious because the gods love it.
And this in turn means, Socrates argues, that the pious is not the same as the god-beloved, for what makes the pious the pious is not what makes the god-beloved the god-beloved. After all, what makes the god-beloved the god-beloved is the fact that the gods love it, whereas what makes the pious the pious is something else 9da.
Thus Euthyphro's theory does not give us the very nature of the pious, but at most a quality of the pious 11ab. In philosophical theism[ edit ] The dilemma can be modified to apply to philosophical theism, where it is still the object of theological and philosophical discussion, largely within the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions.
As German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz presented this version of the dilemma: But there remains the question whether it is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just; in other words, whether justice and Goodness are arbitrary or whether they belong to the necessary and eternal truths about the nature of things.
According to scholar Terence Irwinthe issue and its connection with Plato was revived by Ralph Cudworth and Samuel Clarke in the 17th and 18th centuries. Philosophers and theologians aiming to defend theism against the threat of the dilemma have developed a variety of responses.
God commands it because it is right[ edit ] Supporters[ edit ] The first horn of the dilemma i. Roughly, it is the view that there are independent moral standards: This is the view accepted by Socrates and Euthyphro in Plato's dialogue. The Mu'tazilah school of Islamic theology also defended the view with, for example, Nazzam maintaining that God is powerless to engage in injustice or lying as did the Islamic philosopher Averroes.
Contemporary philosophers of religion who embrace this horn of the Euthyphro dilemma include Richard Swinburne   and T. Mawson  though see below for complications.
Criticisms[ edit ] Sovereignty: If there are moral standards independent of God's will, then "[t]here is something over which God is not sovereign. God is bound by the laws of morality instead of being their establisher. Moreover, God depends for his goodness on the extent to which he conforms to an independent moral standard.
Thus, God is not absolutely independent. These moral standards would limit God's power: This point was influential in Islamic theology: Ash'ari got rid of the whole embarrassing problem by denying the existence of objective values which might act as a standard for God's action.
God, if he is to be God, cannot command us to do what, independently of his will, is wrong. Moreover, these moral standards would limit God's freedom of will: God could not command anything opposed to them, and perhaps would have no choice but to command in accordance with them.
If there are moral standards independent of God, then morality would retain its authority even if God did not exist. This conclusion was explicitly and notoriously drawn by early modern political theorist Hugo Grotius: Rosenkrantz take the first horn of the dilemma, branding divine command theory a "subjective theory of value" that makes morality arbitrary.
To this they reply that God is omnipotent, even though there are states of affairs he cannot bring about: And supposing that it is impossible for God not to exist, then since there cannot be more than one omnipotent being, it is therefore impossible for any being to have more power than God e.
Thus God's omnipotence remains intact. Mawson have a slightly more complicated view.
They both take the first horn of the dilemma when it comes to necessary moral truths. But divine commands are not totally irrelevant, for God and his will can still affect contingent moral truths.
First, there are some divine commands that can directly create moral obligations:Editions for Protagoras/Meno: (Paperback published in ), (Paperback published in ), (Paperback published in Sarah Iles Johnston; Peter T. Struck - Mantike- Studies in Ancient Divination (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World) ().
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