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The Euthyphro dilemma

Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/16/2012 10:52:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Is the good good because God approves it, or does God approve it because it's good?'"

The most common reply is to say that God is essentially good.

Now for this claim to work it must be accepted that its possible for something to be good just because it is essentially good. (As God is being claimed to be good because God is essentially good).

But this opens up the door that something can be good just because it is essentially good. Say for example honesty is good because it is essentially good.

If its possible that honesty can be essentially good, then God is not required for an objective moral value/s.

To merely claim that only God can be essentially good but honesty or anything else can't be essentially good without warrant is arbitrary and special pleading for God.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
DakotaKrafick
Posts: 1,517
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3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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3/17/2012 8:35:21 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?

What about things that appear neither Good or Bad? Or that can become both? We have bacteria such as E. Coli in our large intestine that help break down fecal matter. But if they exist in our stomach, its bad for us. Is E. Coli good or bad? Are natural disasters good or bad?
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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3/17/2012 8:42:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?

Really? Is that you judge good day to day? Also, isn't it impossible to know gods nature?
Utopian
Posts: 48
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3/17/2012 9:06:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 8:35:21 AM, tkubok wrote:
At 3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?

What about things that appear neither Good or Bad? Or that can become both? We have bacteria such as E. Coli in our large intestine that help break down fecal matter. But if they exist in our stomach, its bad for us. Is E. Coli good or bad? Are natural disasters good or bad?

By the previous definition, having E.Coli in the intestines aligns with nature, but not if it's in the stomach. It is not if the E.Coli itself is inherently good or bad, but where it is that determines if it is god or bad.

Natural disasters, if of truly natural origin, would be "good", no mater how many people die as a result. If they are caused by human action or pollution, they would be "bad".

... I don't believe in objective morality or God, I'm just playing devil's advocate, based on the given definition of good as "that which aligns with God's nature".
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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3/17/2012 10:51:12 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?

Which is the first horn of the Euthyphro's dilemma. If it is good because God says it is, then rape, genocide, and many other actions are morally permissable if He says so. In addition, we can simply say "God told me to do it" and it would let us get away with any action.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
DakotaKrafick
Posts: 1,517
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3/17/2012 11:05:54 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 8:42:39 AM, drafterman wrote:
Really? Is that you judge good day to day? Also, isn't it impossible to know gods nature?

Er, I'm an atheist... was just wondering what the response to that objection would be.
logicrules
Posts: 1,721
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3/17/2012 11:24:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 8:35:21 AM, tkubok wrote:
At 3/17/2012 1:25:11 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Isn't it possible for God to be the only essentially good thing and everything else is either good or bad depending on whether or not it aligns with His nature?

What about things that appear neither Good or Bad? Or that can become both? We have bacteria such as E. Coli in our large intestine that help break down fecal matter. But if they exist in our stomach, its bad for us. Is E. Coli good or bad? Are natural disasters good or bad?

Most things are neutral, it s in their use by humans they take on characteristics and become good or evil. Death is neutral....cause may not be.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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3/17/2012 11:38:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 10:52:22 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
"Is the good good because God approves it, or does God approve it because it's good?'"

The most common reply is to say that God is essentially good.

Now for this claim to work it must be accepted that its possible for something to be good just because it is essentially good. (As God is being claimed to be good because God is essentially good).

But this opens up the door that something can be good just because it is essentially good. Say for example honesty is good because it is essentially good.

If its possible that honesty can be essentially good, then God is not required for an objective moral value/s.

To merely claim that only God can be essentially good but honesty or anything else can't be essentially good without warrant is arbitrary and special pleading for God.

Perfect moral agent is an objective concept touted by theists the world over and adopted by atheist philosophers such as Shelly Kagan.
A perfect moral agent given maximum knowledge of a situation & moral sufficiency will make the perfect moral action. Obviously such an agent is defined as God, who has maximum knowledge and moral sufficiency.

We look to God because we do not have maximum knowledge of any given event, so we take directives and moral imperatives from God, while at the same time allowing Him to not have any moral imperatives (from us) upon Himself and allowing Him to have moral sufficiency to act even when it is only apparently wrong to us. The idea is, if we knew everything we would have done the same as the perfect moral agent, God.

- Everyone agrees murder exists and is wrong. (This is called ontology)
- Everyone defines who and what is murder differently (This is called epistemology)

The perfect moral agent would have maximum knowledge (including reasoning and cognitive faculties) and a proper understanding of any act of mere apparent evil, with regards to moral sufficiency.

- Everyone agrees moral sufficiency exists. (Ontology)
- Everyone agrees good exists. (Ontology)
- Everyone agrees murder exists. (Ontology)

We can see that ontology is not in doubt in the euthyphro dilemma nor by nearly all people. Lets first answer the question are specific actions called out by God to limited/finite beings proper or epistemologically sound?

- All of God's (perfect moral agent) actions are epistemologically perfect.

Any claim against God's actions would always be met with the understanding we are limited beings judging a person with maximum knowledge.

So God is the source of epistemologically objective good. For example, a moral imperative for the Christian, but not unbelievers is tithing and a moral imperative for all nations is to not support homosexuality.

Even if we personally do not see the reasoning of a Maximum Being we agree there may be far more knowledge we simply do not have and we can choose to fall in line with the perfect moral agents commands. So we see that Divine commands overrule apparent good acts or apparent evil acts due to maximum knowledge. As an added point none of the greek pantheonistic gods has this stated quality as a perfect moral agent.

***
I believe we all agree at this Point, the perfect moral agent or God can define objectively what is good or not (epistemological) but that leaves a question if morals are outside of God or inside of God and does this point to His existence?

Realize the second question does nothing to detract from Christian Faith and Practice in either answer.
-If objective moral values exist outside of God, the result may not be evidence for God's existence but the fact will still remain who better to define good for us than the perfect moral agent with maximum knowledge?
-If objective moral values exist as a part of God's nature, God being the source of moral values does not change Him as the perfect moral agent, but adds that objective moral values are evidence for God's existence.

When Christian philosophers point out that God is perfect goodness, then that goodness is a part of His nature. We see that ontologically God cannot be something other than He is. An example of this is that a circle is a circle within all possible worlds. Good is a part of the nature of God. If objective good exists, then this is good evidence the ‘object' called God exists, who Has good as part of His nature?

Do we have evidence of ‘good' being a part of God's nature? I would state obviously. We certainly can conceive of a maximally great being with ‘Good' as a part of His nature and we look to a perfect moral being by default. Both conception and the desire to look to a perfect moral agent indicate such an object is highly plausible.

We see that God as both the perfect moral agent and good as a part of God's nature, causes the dilemma not to apply to God at all, where it would apply to the greek pantheon of limited beings/gods.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/17/2012 6:28:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Gil

I don't see how anything you said rules out the possibility that something other than God can be good because its "essentially" good.

The issue here isn't about knowing the good.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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3/17/2012 9:11:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 6:28:13 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
@Gil

I don't see how anything you said rules out the possibility that something other than God can be good because its "essentially" good.

The issue here isn't about knowing the good.

The perfect moral agent as the natural source of good was the second part of what I said.
We know of the perfect moral agent and this is instinctive for us to pursue who logically displays morality as a part of His nature.
We would expect to see some 'other' object to compete with God if He was not the source of objective morals as a part of its nature. This object is entirely non-existent.

- So we expect to find a perfect moral agent and we find one.
- If the perfect moral agent was not the natural source of objective morals, we would expect to see the other source and we do not.

Thus God, being the perfect moral agent and having good as a part of his nature, like a circle objectively being a circle, the euthyphro does not matter to such a Being.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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3/17/2012 9:27:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 11:05:54 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
At 3/17/2012 8:42:39 AM, drafterman wrote:
Really? Is that you judge good day to day? Also, isn't it impossible to know gods nature?

Er, I'm an atheist... was just wondering what the response to that objection would be.

Becoming an atheist would be the most appropriate response to that objection.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/17/2012 9:29:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 9:11:55 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 3/17/2012 6:28:13 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
@Gil

I don't see how anything you said rules out the possibility that something other than God can be good because its "essentially" good.

The issue here isn't about knowing the good.

The perfect moral agent as the natural source of good was the second part of what I said.

We know of the perfect moral agent and this is instinctive for us to pursue who logically displays morality as a part of His nature.
We would expect to see some 'other' object to compete with God if He was not the source of objective morals as a part of its nature. This object is entirely non-existent.

- So we expect to find a perfect moral agent and we find one.
- If the perfect moral agent was not the natural source of objective morals, we would expect to see the other source and we do not.

Thus God, being the perfect moral agent and having good as a part of his nature, like a circle objectively being a circle, the euthyphro does not matter to such a Being.

Oh I see, your just concentrating on a solution to the Euthyphro Dillema, that isn't what I am getting at. I am just showing how the solution to the dilemma opens up the door that its possible that something can be good because its "essentially good". eg God.

So here is the claim, honesty for example can be good cause its essentially good, and because its essentially good its objectively good.

Why is this significant ? cause its a refutation of the claim that an objective moral value can only exist if God exists.

As such the existence of objective moral value/s does not prove that God exists.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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3/17/2012 9:50:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 9:29:01 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:11:55 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 3/17/2012 6:28:13 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
@Gil

I don't see how anything you said rules out the possibility that something other than God can be good because its "essentially" good.

The issue here isn't about knowing the good.

The perfect moral agent as the natural source of good was the second part of what I said.

We know of the perfect moral agent and this is instinctive for us to pursue who logically displays morality as a part of His nature.
We would expect to see some 'other' object to compete with God if He was not the source of objective morals as a part of its nature. This object is entirely non-existent.

- So we expect to find a perfect moral agent and we find one.
- If the perfect moral agent was not the natural source of objective morals, we would expect to see the other source and we do not.

Thus God, being the perfect moral agent and having good as a part of his nature, like a circle objectively being a circle, the euthyphro does not matter to such a Being.

Oh I see, your just concentrating on a solution to the Euthyphro Dillema, that isn't what I am getting at. I am just showing how the solution to the dilemma opens up the door that its possible that something can be good because its "essentially good". eg God.

So here is the claim, honesty for example can be good cause its essentially good, and because its essentially good its objectively good.

Why is this significant ? cause its a refutation of the claim that an objective moral value can only exist if God exists.

As such the existence of objective moral value/s does not prove that God exists.

What is 'essentially good'? Why is essentially not just a subjective adjective?
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/17/2012 9:59:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 9:50:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:

What is 'essentially good'? Why is essentially not just a subjective adjective?

I use the word essentially here in the same sense that God is said to be essentially good. That is to say there is no possible world where X is not X.

So for example, honestly is good because there is no possible world where honesty is not good.

So honesty is good because its essentially good and thus objectively good.

Note: It doesn't have to be honesty, I just use it to make the illustration.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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3/17/2012 10:31:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 9:59:19 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:50:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:

What is 'essentially good'? Why is essentially not just a subjective adjective?

I use the word essentially here in the same sense that God is said to be essentially good. That is to say there is no possible world where X is not X.

So for example, honestly is good because there is no possible world where honesty is not good.

So honesty is good because its essentially good and thus objectively good.

Note: It doesn't have to be honesty, I just use it to make the illustration.

Thank you for the clarity.
I would make a huge distinction here, a triangle will never be anything but a triangle. 3 angles is a part of its natural. This is obvious and such a description is inherent to the nature of a triangle.

Nothing about Honesty having goodness as an obvious, inherent OR EVEN apparent part of its nature.

A perfect moral being does have that quality of goodness as a part of His nature by virtue of conception.
I cannot conceive of a world were a Triangle is not a Triangle.
I cannot conceive of a world were the perfect moral agent is not objective good.

I can conceive of even within THIS world where honest is not essentially good. To be honest about where my wife and children are hiding to escape the marauding army is not good.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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3/17/2012 11:04:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 10:31:21 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:59:19 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:50:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:

What is 'essentially good'? Why is essentially not just a subjective adjective?

I use the word essentially here in the same sense that God is said to be essentially good. That is to say there is no possible world where X is not X.

So for example, honestly is good because there is no possible world where honesty is not good.

So honesty is good because its essentially good and thus objectively good.

Note: It doesn't have to be honesty, I just use it to make the illustration.

Thank you for the clarity.
I would make a huge distinction here, a triangle will never be anything but a triangle. 3 angles is a part of its natural. This is obvious and such a description is inherent to the nature of a triangle.

Nothing about Honesty having goodness as an obvious, inherent OR EVEN apparent part of its nature.

If you can state something as "obvious" then so can I, it is obvious that honesty is good.

A perfect moral being does have that quality of goodness as a part of His nature by virtue of conception.
I cannot conceive of a world were a Triangle is not a Triangle.
I cannot conceive of a world were the perfect moral agent is not objective good.

I can conceive of even within THIS world where honest is not essentially good. To be honest about where my wife and children are hiding to escape the marauding army is not good.

1) This isn't a defeater for my point, honesty is just used as example, as long as its possible that X is good cause its essentially good the logic stands.

2) If your going to appeal to undesirable outcomes as a defeater, then any divine command theory that leads to undesirable results can be refuted on the same basis. You really want to go down this road ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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3/18/2012 12:40:43 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 9:27:29 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 3/17/2012 11:05:54 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
At 3/17/2012 8:42:39 AM, drafterman wrote:
Really? Is that you judge good day to day? Also, isn't it impossible to know gods nature?

Er, I'm an atheist... was just wondering what the response to that objection would be.

Becoming an atheist would be the most appropriate response to that objection.

What are you trying to say? He was already an atheist when he made that statement.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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3/18/2012 7:53:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/17/2012 11:04:51 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 3/17/2012 10:31:21 PM, Gileandos wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:59:19 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 3/17/2012 9:50:25 PM, Gileandos wrote:

What is 'essentially good'? Why is essentially not just a subjective adjective?

I use the word essentially here in the same sense that God is said to be essentially good. That is to say there is no possible world where X is not X.

So for example, honestly is good because there is no possible world where honesty is not good.

So honesty is good because its essentially good and thus objectively good.

Note: It doesn't have to be honesty, I just use it to make the illustration.

Thank you for the clarity.
I would make a huge distinction here, a triangle will never be anything but a triangle. 3 angles is a part of its natural. This is obvious and such a description is inherent to the nature of a triangle.

Nothing about Honesty having goodness as an obvious, inherent OR EVEN apparent part of its nature.

If you can state something as "obvious" then so can I, it is obvious that honesty is good.

You cannot 'just' state something is obvious. You cannot say 'A triangle is obviously a circle. It is incoherent.
The perfect moral agent having objective morals as a part of His nature is actually obvious.


A perfect moral being does have that quality of goodness as a part of His nature by virtue of conception.
I cannot conceive of a world were a Triangle is not a Triangle.
I cannot conceive of a world were the perfect moral agent is not objective good.

I can conceive of even within THIS world where honest is not essentially good. To be honest about where my wife and children are hiding to escape the marauding army is not good.

1) This isn't a defeater for my point, honesty is just used as example, as long as its possible that X is good cause its essentially good the logic stands.

I do not see this to be the case at all.


2) If your going to appeal to undesirable outcomes as a defeater, then any divine command theory that leads to undesirable results can be refuted on the same basis. You really want to go down this road ?

I showed in my first post epistemology is distinct from ontology.