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Author Topic:   Euthyprho's Dilemma Deflated
JustinC
Member (Idle past 3010 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 1 of 55 (400750)
05-16-2007 2:56 PM


The Euthyphro is a dialogue by Plato in which a troublesome question arises for a (poly)theist: do the gods love something because it is pious or is it pious because the gods love it ?

This question has been modified and used as an argument with regard to God being the source fo morality. That is, "Is an action good because god commands it or does god command it because it is good?" If the former option is true, then morality is subject to the capriciousness of the gods, i.e., child rape would be moral if god commands it. If the latter option is true, then there is a standard of morality over and above god which he must conform to, i.e, morality is independent of god.

When confronted with this, some theists proclaim that morality is simply a reflection of god's eternal and absolute nature. The argument can then ostensibly be framed in terms of God's nature.

I used to think that this was a satisfactory response to the reformulation of morality in terms of god's nature, but I'm not so sure anymore. Surely, if god's nature is absolute then it is not subject to any form of capriciousness or incessant tranformations. And therefore the argument is not directly analagous to Plato's dialogue and therefore is not a sound argument for why god can't be a source of morality.

Note, I am not saying that god must be the source of morality, only that there is no dilemma in claiming that to be the case.

Thoughts?


Replies to this message:
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AdminPaul
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Message 2 of 55 (400879)
05-17-2007 7:01 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
PaulK
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Posts: 15049
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 3 of 55 (400884)
05-17-2007 7:27 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by JustinC
05-16-2007 2:56 PM


The problem with your argument is that you assume that changeability is the heart of the dilemma. It is not.

The real issue is that the proposer of a God-based morality wants to be able to meaningfully say that God is good in a non-trivial sense. But they also want to deny that there is any standard by which we could say such a thing. For example if we tried to ground morality in terms of God's nature we would have to say that if God's nature were such that he approved of child rape, child rape would be good. And this applies to any and all moral commands. .

To refute this it must be argued that God's nature must be such that God would necessarily approve of "good" actions and disapprove of "evil" actions - without setting up a standard by which to judge an action "good" or "evil". But how could this be done ?

Ultimately, most people who propose God as source of morality also tacitly assume that there is an independant standard of morality. They appeal to God's nature on the assumption that God's nature is necessarily good in an objective non-trivial non-question-begging way. Without this assumption all we have is an arbitrary redefinition of morality which can - and should be - rejected.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6631
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 4 of 55 (400900)
05-17-2007 9:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by JustinC
05-16-2007 2:56 PM


The problem is that the idea of a single, absolute standard for morality doesn't even make sense. The whole notion of "right" and "wrong" is basically an emotional one, ultimately based on what people feel inspires praise or condemnation. For this reason, "right" and "wrong" are going to vary with time, culture, and even among people in the same culture at the same time. God cannot be "good" because different people are going to view his (hypothetical) actions differently, and there is no objective way to determine which view is the "correct" one.

One could, in the end, simply define "good" to be what God wants. But this divorces the meaning of "good" from the intuitive idea that "good" is what people should do without taking into account rewards or punishments; in fact, it even begs the question: why, then, should people do what God wants? To then discuss this question then implies that in reality morality is separate from God.

The reason Euthyprho's Dilemma is a dilemma is that cultures usually exhibit some degree of ethnocentrism; even the most tolerant of cultures assume that their particular values are superior to those of other cultures. Plato, like most of the ancient Greeks, assumed that the moral values he was taught are, indeed, an objective standard for morality, and it may very well seem to him a remarkable coincidence that the Greek gods also upheld this standard of morality.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by JustinC, posted 05-16-2007 2:56 PM JustinC has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 10:24 AM Chiroptera has responded
 Message 30 by JustinC, posted 05-17-2007 4:41 PM Chiroptera has responded

  
working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1704 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 5 of 55 (400907)
05-17-2007 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Chiroptera
05-17-2007 9:33 AM


Criticism of Emotivism
quote:
The problem is that the idea of a single, absolute standard for morality doesn't even make sense. The whole notion of "right" and "wrong" is basically an emotional one, ultimately based on what people feel inspires praise or condemnation.

"If moral judgments are merely expressions of emotion, they cannot be contradicted"-A Guide to Ethics

There is no way to resolve a moral disagreement if what makes an action morally right is one's emotion or attitude.

A man who feels that murdering people is right yells "Murdering is right!"
Where as a man who believes murdering is wrong yells "Murdering is wrong!"

There is no way to resolve this moral disagreement because according to you and the rest of the subjective emotivists there is no disagreement. Emotivists feel that morality is simply an expression of emotion.

THIS IS ALL EMOTIVISTS CAN DO (please read):

"The best reply the emotivist can offer is to suggest that the goal of moral argumentation is not what it appears to be; disputants seem to seek the truth, but what they really want is to cause others to share their attitudes, to disapprove of the same things. In other words, good argumentation is not about identifying the truth; a "good" argument is anything that aligns others' attitudes with our own. However, the process of influencing someone's attitudes can involve techniques that would be completely irrational and even immoral as judged by common sense. The most effective means might be persuasive but fallacious rhetoric or intimidation, conditioning, and brainwashing techniques, in which case emotivists must endorse these measures as good moral arguments."- A Guide to Ethics

Abandon your inept belief. Thank you, morality is reason.


This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6631
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 6 of 55 (400920)
05-17-2007 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by working out eating chips
05-17-2007 10:24 AM


Where's the cricism?
Something is no less true just because it makes you uncomfortable.

Added by edit:

Actually, I probably should expand on this a bit.

...disputants seem to seek the truth....

No, only to those who think there is some "moral truth". Well, there is no moral truth to be sought. Some may not like it, but too bad -- that's the way reality is.

...what they really want is to cause others to share their attitudes, to disapprove of the same things.

Well, yeah, that's what all moral arguments are. People who admit that morality is subjective admit this; those who want to believe that there exists an objective standard for morality are also simply trying to cause others to share their attitudes and to disapprove of the same things.

In other words, good argumentation is not about identifying the truth

Good arguments are about determining whether the conclusion necessarily follows the premises. Good arguments are about choosing the premises that explain the world as well as one sees it. Whether or not there is some "truth" to be identified is itself a rather complex and profound epistemic question.

However, the process of influencing someone's attitudes can involve techniques that would be completely irrational and even immoral as judged by common sense. The most effective means might be persuasive but fallacious rhetoric or intimidation, conditioning, and brainwashing techniques, in which case emotivists must endorse these measures as good moral arguments.

This is not true. Proper moral arguments use, or try to use, logic to show that the premises held by the other person either lead to conclusions they would not agree with or do not lead to conclusions they deem as important. Proper moral arguments use, or try to use, logic to show that one's premises lead to conclusions that both hopefully feel are the ones that should be sought.

Like all arguments, all moral arguments simply explore the consequences and conclusions that follow from the premises. Like all investigations, they are part of a search for the right premises that seem to describe the world. Where moral arguments differ from arguments in, say, the physical sciences is that the premises in a moral argument do not describe any kind of objective reality; rather the premises describe the world in which the participants themselves would find desirable to live.

Additional edit:
I should also add that so-called "objective moralists" themselves use motional arguments. Every moral argument I have ever seen, regardless of the stand taken by the arguer, eventually comes to trying to show that unpleasant consequences will arise if the other person's morality or lack of one is adopted. I have never seen even an "objective moralist" who did not eventually come to the "appeal to consequences", which itself is an argument based on manipulating the other person's emotions.

Edited by Chiroptera, : No reason given.

Edited by Chiroptera, : No reason given.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 10:24 AM working out eating chips has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 1:24 PM Chiroptera has responded

  
working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1704 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 7 of 55 (400933)
05-17-2007 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Chiroptera
05-17-2007 11:48 AM


quote:
No, only to those who think there is some "moral truth". Well, there is no moral truth to be sought. Some may not like it, but too bad -- that's the way reality is.

Your opinion doesn't matter. Please support statements with reason.

quote:
I should also add that so-called "objective moralists" themselves use motional arguments. Every moral argument I have ever seen, regardless of the stand taken by the arguer, eventually comes to trying to show that unpleasant consequences will arise if the other person's morality or lack of one is adopted. I have never seen even an "objective moralist" who did not eventually come to the "appeal to consequences", which itself is an argument based on manipulating the other person's emotions.

Immanuel Kant. Reading him would probably be too much for a sad sap like you to muster, however.

quote:
Good arguments are about determining whether the conclusion necessarily follows the premises. Good arguments are about choosing the premises that explain the world as well as one sees it. Whether or not there is some "truth" to be identified is itself a rather complex and profound epistemic question.

This paragraph of jumbled words means absolutely nothing. Protagoras would be proud.

If I am arguing from a premise I am trying to prove my premise, not to "see the world as well as I see it". Perfect information exists in regards to morality. Morality is knowledge, it is reason. Emotivism nullifies truth and trivializes morality. There is no right and wrong. There is simply expression of emotion. In this view no person derserves moral credit. A murderer is not immoral. A corrupt leader is not immoral. How do you pledge allegiance to a party for the protection of human "rights" when such a party's tenets are not right or wrong.

You have perverted reality. If you only hold two things true know this: there is absolute truth and absolute morality.

Kant said that the ulltimate expression of freedom is when the right action is freely willed through reasoning of what is right and wrong. Look up and understand the categorical imperative. All three forms.

You have it in you to understand. You can do it.


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AdminPaul
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 55 (400935)
05-17-2007 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by working out eating chips
05-17-2007 1:24 PM


Messenjah, strictly speaking this issue is off-topic. I'm prepared to let that slide for now.

However, you need to drop the insults and provide arguments. It's not enough to just refer to make a reference to Kant. If you feel that Kant is too diffcult for your opponent to understand then you should do your best to provide a simplified summary. Instead of making rude remarks about it.


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jar
Member
Posts: 30986
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 9 of 55 (400939)
05-17-2007 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by working out eating chips
05-17-2007 1:24 PM


Reason cannot exist without a base of experience
There is no absolute truth or absolute morality. Or, at least so far, no one has been able to present such a critter.

Morality is simply a religious concept and of not much use or value outside the small and limited viewpoint of a particular religious community.

Truth is another thing. There are things which can be proven to be true, for example, certain mathematical models, others which are true within a given set of conditions. But so far no one has been able to show the existence of any "Absolute Truth".

Even Kant's Categorical Imperatives are laid out in relative terms. Kant suggested that an Imperative was some action or inaction that would be required. However, what action or inaction is required will depend on what the relative circumstance is in reality of that moment.

While Kant's philosophy is useful for the trivialities of life, "If I am thirsty I must drink to satisfy my thirst", they fall apart when faced with anything more complex. As an example, when many are thirsty and there is insufficient fluids to meet even the minimal needs of the whole group.

Kant can't. Get it?

Right and wrong, not morality are the things of importance.

But...

what is right and what is wrong depends totally on what is known to the decisions maker about all of the conditions of the situation at that moment in time. In almost all cases, all of the information needed to make a right choice is not available, so decisions must be made on partial information, often in a split second, often in too short a period of time for full consideration. Almost always the best that can be done is try to make the best choice out of a range of known available options.

Reason is key. But unfortunately, reason is also limited to available knowledge and that, is relative.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 1:24 PM working out eating chips has responded

Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 1458 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 10 of 55 (400940)
05-17-2007 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by JustinC
05-16-2007 2:56 PM


JustinC writes:

Note, I am not saying that god must be the source of morality, only that there is no dilemma in claiming that to be the case.


Beside the things about morality that others have already pointed out, I want to also point out an underlying implication of this claim. Since you are claiming that what seems to us to be objectively good is god's nature (that god is good in nature), you are basically putting god in a box in which anything outside the box is beyond god's reach.

For example, I think we can all agree that raping a child is wrong, correct? If god is all good, then god must think that raping a child is wrong. The question is can god decide tomorrow that raping a child is morally right? According to you, god can't decide to change. This suggests that god has no free will and is far from omnipotent.



We are BOG. Resistance is voltage over current.

Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19871
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 11 of 55 (400941)
05-17-2007 2:15 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by working out eating chips
05-17-2007 10:24 AM


Re: Criticism of Emotivism
A man who feels that murdering people is right yells "Murdering is right!"
Where as a man who believes murdering is wrong yells "Murdering is wrong!"

This is exactly what we have in a war: each side thinks they are morally right and morally justified in killing the other side.

This is just an appeal to emotionalism using murder to make people choose sides on what is considered moral. Thus it is false by your own argument ... or your argument is false: your choice.

Enjoy.


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 Message 5 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 10:24 AM working out eating chips has responded

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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1704 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 12 of 55 (400942)
05-17-2007 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
05-17-2007 1:54 PM


Re: Reason cannot exist without a base of experience
quote:
Morality is simply a religious concept and of not much use or value outside the small and limited viewpoint of a particular religious community.

Morality has nothing to do with religion. Morality is derived through reason.

quote:
Even Kant's Categorical Imperatives are laid out in relative terms. Kant suggested that an Imperative was some action or inaction that would be required. However, what action or inaction is required will depend on what the relative circumstance is in reality of that moment.

While Kant's philosophy is useful for the trivialities of life, "If I am thirsty I must drink to satisfy my thirst", they fall apart when faced with anything more complex. As an example, when many are thirsty and there is insufficient fluids to meet even the minimal needs of the whole group.

Kant can't. Get it?


There is nothing relative about Kant. There is no circumstance underwhich one must forgo his/her duty. Relative circumstances is an odd phrase. There is adversity and tough moral dilemmas but by no means may one stray from the law. If an axe murderer comes to your house looking for your brother who is in your house you do not lie to him. You owe an axe murderer no truth because he is irrational and not a loved one. You can either say not a word and close the door or deceive him. Dimplomacy is not lying for if the axe murderer could reason he would simply ask more specific questions to come to the answer he is looking for. One may not forgo the maxim "thou shalt not lie" even if the consequences appear better. One would never want others to lie to oneself. And lying would prove more worse than deception because if your brother had ran to your neighbors and you said "he's at my neighbors" than you are morally culpable.

quote:
As an example, when many are thirsty and there is insufficient fluids to meet even the minimal needs of the whole group.

When existence is solely survival morality does not exist, this is true. But there are those amoong us that would rather suffer great harm and even death than to forgo their duty.

quote:
Right and wrong, not morality are the things of importance.

Right and wrong is morality.

quote:
Reason is key. But unfortunately, reason is also limited to available knowledge and that, is relative.

Wrong, there is perfect knowledge.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 05-17-2007 1:54 PM jar has responded

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jar
Member
Posts: 30986
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 13 of 55 (400943)
05-17-2007 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by working out eating chips
05-17-2007 2:18 PM


Re: Reason cannot exist without a base of experience
Wrong, there is perfect knowledge.

Fine. If so, then present it for examination.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by working out eating chips, posted 05-17-2007 2:18 PM working out eating chips has responded

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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1704 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 14 of 55 (400944)
05-17-2007 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by RAZD
05-17-2007 2:15 PM


Re: Criticism of Emotivism
Wrong.

No one is ever justified in taking another's life. Thou shalt not kill.

War is always immoral. Fascists by their nature are immoral and there is little option other than to beat them down. They are irrational and bring life to a state of survival where morality ceases to exist.
Irrational beings deserve moral credence even though rationality forgoes sentience. Survival is the point form this paragraph

Woody Allen took a line from Aristotle by saying the only thing you can do to fascists is beat them over the head.

Aristotle said the same about relativists...

Edited by -messenjah of one, : typo

Edited by -messenjah of one, : dramatic change to paragraph

Edited by -messenjah of one, : typo


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working out eating chips
Member (Idle past 1704 days)
Posts: 1623
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 15 of 55 (400946)
05-17-2007 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
05-17-2007 2:22 PM


Re: Reason cannot exist without a base of experience
There is a pinnacle of human reasoning and I have reached it. I cannot say the same for yourself. Obviously, if you don't believe the state exists you must not have reached it. You're probably not too far away.
This message is a reply to:
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