The Eurthyphro Dilemma

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  • The Euthyphro Dilemma
    • The dilemma was identified in philosopher Plato in the 'Last Days of Socrates'
      • It features a dialogue between a young man called Eurthyphro and Socrates. Socrates asks the young man what he thought was right, Eurthyphro replied with what the Gods would think was right.
      • Socrates was a ,am accused with the crime of stirring up trouble within the cities youth. From this Socrates decided to ask  the people of Athens what they thought right and wrong actually meant.
    • The dilemma asks if something is morally right because God says it is right, or is it right because it actually is right. In other words- Do Gods command what is right because it is right, or does God command it because it is right.
    • The dilemma allows us to ask whether religious people do things which their God commands them to do even if they otherwise think that what they are being asked to do is wrong, or should they doubt the command that has come from their God as they believe it is wrong
      • Eurthyphro is  hanging about the Acropolis and he hears a God like voice telling him to kill the next person who passes them. He is convinced that he has heard the voice of a Godand he has been brought up to always obey the Gods. Even if he thinks this is wrong ge Gods wouldn't command it if it was wrong, would they?
    • If we look at the morality of killing we can see a correlation between the dilemma. In most religions there is a rule prohibiting killing. Some religions would understand this to be absolute- it never waves. Other religious people would disagree and be relative- which means that it depends and is relative to the situation.
    • The Divine Command Theory
      • The dilemma raises the issues of how divine beings are linked to morality
      • Most  religious believe that their God always what is good and always expects the same of his followers. Now if such a God commanded you to do something bad then alarm bells should be ringing?
      • In the case of revelation (study of sacred texts, through teachings of religious leaders) in most cases of revelation then it is possible that you might feel you are being directed to do something morally suspicious. But should you do it because it came from God?
      • So then what are they to do should they accept Gods words blindly or doubt the person they believe is a flawless being?
      • The only solution is to put features of your faith together in order to find the truth like in the Qur'an when you feel something is not right you can follow the actions of Muhammed instead.
    • The answer to the Euthyphro dilemma from a religious person would be that God has his reasons, he always has the best intentions at heart


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