Euthyphro Dilemma

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Euthyphro Dilemma



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Does Morality come from God? (Euthyphro Dilemma) - Philosophy Tube

In the Western church, Augustine — emphasized the gap between the world we are in as resident aliens and our citizenship in the heavenly Jerusalem, and even in our next life the distance between ourselves and God. He describes in the Confessions the route by which his heart or will, together with his understanding, moved from paganism through Neo-Platonism to Christianity. Augustine accepted that the Platonists taught, like the beginning of the prologue of John , that the Word in Greek, logos is with God and is God, since the Intellect is the mediating principle between the One and the Many John —5.

Dei VIII. But the Platonists did not teach, like the end of John's prologue, that the Word is made flesh in Jesus Christ, and so they did not have access to the way to salvation revealed in Christ or God's grace to us through Christ's death. Nonetheless, it is surprising how far Augustine can go in rapprochement. The Forms, he says, are in the mind of God and God uses them in the creation of the world. Human beings were created for union with God, but they have the freedom to turn towards themselves instead of God. If they turn to God, they can receive divine illumination through a personal intuition of the eternal standards the Forms. If they turn towards themselves, they will lose the sense of the order of creation, which the order of their own loves should reflect.

Augustine gives primacy to the virtue of loving what ought to be loved, especially God. He held that humans who truly love God will also act in accord with the other precepts of divine and moral law; though love not merely fulfills the cardinal virtues wisdom, justice, courage and temperance but transforms them by supernatural grace. The influence of Augustine in the subsequent history of ethics resulted from the fact that it was his synthesis of Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire after and Greek philosophy that survived the destruction of the Western Roman Empire, especially in the monasteries where the texts were still read.

Boethius c. To understand this, we need to go back into the history of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. The church had to explain how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit could be distinct and yet not three different gods. The doctrine of the Trinity comes to be understood in terms of three persons, one God, with the persons standing in different relations to each other. The church came to talk about one person with two natures, the person standing under the natures. This had the merit of not making either the humanity or the divinity less essential to who Jesus was. In the West knowledge of most of Aristotle's texts was lost, but not in the East.

They were translated into Syriac, and Arabic, and eventually in Muslim Spain into Latin, and re-entered Christian Europe in the twelfth century accompanied by translations of the great Arabic commentaries. In the initial prophetic period of Islam CE —32 the Qur'an was given to Mohammad, who explained it and reinforced it through his own teachings and practices. The notion of God's Allah's commands is again central, and our obedience to these commands is the basis of our eventual resurrection. Disputes about political authority in the period after Mohammad's death led to the split between Sunnis and Shiites.

Within Sunni Muslim ethical theory in the Middle Ages two major alternative ways developed of thinking about the relation between morality and religion. These standards that we learn from reason apply also to God, so that we can use them to judge what God is and is not commanding us to do. He also teaches that humans have freedom, in the sense of a power to perform both an act and its opposite, though not at the same time. The second alternative was taught by al-Ashari d. He insists that God is subject to none and to no standard that can fix bounds for Him. Nothing can be wrong for God, who sets the standard of right and wrong. With respect to our freedom, he holds that God gives us only the power to do the act not its opposite and this power is simultaneous to the act and does not precede it.

A figure contemporary with al-Ashari, but in some ways intermediate between Mu'tazilites and Asharites, is al-Maturidi of Samarqand d. He holds that because humans have the tendency in their nature towards ugly or harmful actions as well as beautiful or beneficial ones, God has to reveal to us by command what to pursue and what to avoid. He also teaches that God gives us two different kinds of power, both the power simultaneous with the act which is simply to do the act and the power preceding the act to choose either the act or its opposite. Medieval reflection within Judaism about morality and religion has, as its most significant figure, Maimonides d. The Guide of the Perplexed was written for young men who had read Aristotle and were worried about the tension between the views of the philosopher and their faith.

Maimonides teaches that we do indeed have some access just as human beings to the rightness and wrongness of acts; but what renders conforming to these standards obligatory is that God reveals them in special revelation. The laws are obligatory whether we understand the reasons for them or not, but sometimes we do see how it is beneficial to obey, and Maimonides is remarkably fertile in providing such reasons. II, d. Thomas Aquinas c. Aquinas, like Aristotle, emphasized the ends vegetative, animal and typically human given to humans in the natural order.

He described both the cardinal virtues and the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, but he did not feel the tension that current virtue ethicists sometimes feel between virtue and the following of rules or principles. The rules governing how we ought to live are known, some of them by revelation, some of them by ordinary natural experience and rational reflection.

But Aquinas thought these rules consistent in the determination of our good, since God only requires us to do what is consistent with our own good. And from this natural willing are caused all other willings, since whatever a man wills, he wills on account of the end. The principles of natural moral law are the universal judgments made by right reasoning about the kinds of actions that are morally appropriate and inappropriate for human agents. They are thus, at least in principle and at a highly general level, deducible from human nature. Aquinas held that reason, in knowing these principles, is participating in the eternal law, which is in the mind of God Summa Theologiae I, q.

Aquinas was not initially successful in persuading the church to embrace Aristotle. Aquinas was a Dominican friar. The other major order of friars, the Franciscan, had its own school of philosophy, starting with Bonaventure c. First, Scotus is not a eudaimonist. He takes a double account of motivation from Anselm — , who made the distinction between two affections of the will, the affection for advantage an inclination towards one's own happiness and perfection and the affection for justice an inclination towards what is good in itself independent of advantage Anselm, De Concordia 3.

Original sin is a ranking of advantage over justice, which needs to be reversed by God's assistance before we can be pleasing to God. Scotus says that we should be willing to sacrifice our own happiness for God if God were to require this. Second, he does not think that the moral law is self-evident or necessary. But the second table is contingent, though fitting our nature, and God could prescribe different commands even for human beings Ord.

I, dist. One of his examples is the proscription on theft, which applies only to beings with property, and so not necessarily to human beings since they are not necessarily propertied. Third, Scotus denied the application of teleology to non-intentional nature, and thus departed from the Aristotelian and Thomist view. This does not mean that we have no natural end or telos , but that this end is related to the intention of God in the same way a human artisan intends his or her products to have a certain purpose see Hare , chapter 2. Europe experienced a second Renaissance when scholars fled Constantinople after its capture by the Muslims in , and brought with them Greek manuscripts that were previously inaccessible.

In Florence Marsilio Ficino —99 identified Plato as the primary ancient teacher of wisdom, and like Bonaventure cited Augustine as his guide in elevating Plato in this way. His choice of Plato was determined by the harmony he believed to exist between Plato's thought and the Christian faith, and he set about making Latin translations of all the Platonic texts so that this wisdom could be available for his contemporaries who did not know Greek. He was also the first Latin translator of Plotinus, the Neo-Platonist. Many of the central figures in the Reformation were humanists in the Renaissance sense where there is no implication of atheism.

The historical connection between Scotus and the Reformers can be traced through William of Ockham d. The Counter-Reformation in Roman Catholic Europe, on the other hand, took the work of Aquinas as authoritative for education. However, Suarez accepted Scotus's double account of motivation. The next two centuries in European philosophy can be described in terms of two lines of development, rationalism and empiricism, both of which led, in different ways, to the possibility of a greater detachment of ethics from theology. Descartes was not primarily an ethicist, but he located the source of moral law surprisingly for a rationalist in God's will.

The most important rationalist in ethics was Benedict de Spinoza — He was a Jew, but was condemned by his contemporary faith community as unorthodox. Like Descartes, he attempted to duplicate the methods of geometry in philosophy. Substance, according to Spinoza, exists in itself and is conceived through itself Ethics , I, def. Everything in the universe is necessary, and there is no free will, except in as far as Spinoza is in favor of calling someone free who is led by reason Ethics , I, prop. Each human mind is a limited aspect of the divine intellect.

On this view which has its antecedent in Stoicism the human task is to move towards the greatest possible rational control of human life. Leibniz was, like Descartes, not primarily an ethicist. The rationalists were not denying the centrality of God in human moral life, but their emphasis was on the access we have through the light of reason rather than through sacred text or ecclesiastical authority.

After Leibniz there was in Germany a long-running battle between the rationalists and the pietists, who tried to remain true to the goals of the Lutheran Reformation. Examples of the two schools are Christian Wolff — and Christian August Crusius —75 , and we can understand Immanuel Kant — , like his teacher Martin Knutzen —51 , as trying to mediate between the two.

Wolff was a very successful popularizer of the thought of Leibniz, but fuller in his ethical system. He took from Leibniz the principle that we will always select what pleases us most, and the principle that pleasure is the apprehension of perfection, so that the amount of pleasure we feel is proportional to the amount of perfection we intuit New Essays on Human Understanding , XXI, He thought we are obligated to do what will make us and our condition, or that of others, more perfect, and this is the law of nature that would be binding on us even if per impossible God did not exist. He saw no problem about the connection between virtue and happiness, since both of them result directly from our perfection, and no problem about the connection between virtue and duty, since a duty is simply an act in accordance with law, which prescribes the pursuit of perfection.

His views were offensive to the pietists, because he claimed that Confucius already knew by reason all that mattered about morality, even though he did not know anything about Christ. Crusius by contrast accepted Scotus's double theory of motivation, and held that there are actions that we ought to do regardless of any ends we have, even the end of our own perfection and happiness. It is plausible to see here the origin of Kant's categorical imperative. His idea was that we have within us this separate capacity to recognize divine command and to be drawn towards it out of a sense of dependence on the God who prescribes the command to us, and will punish us if we disobey though our motive should not be to avoid punishment Ibid.

The history of empiricism in Britain from Hobbes to Hume is also the history of the attempt to re-establish human knowledge, but not from above from indubitable principles of reason but from below from experience and especially the experience of the senses. Thomas Hobbes — said that all reality is bodily including God , and all events are motions in space.

Willing, then, is a motion, and is merely the last act of desire or aversion in any process of deliberation. His view is that it is natural, and so reasonable, for each of us to aim solely at our own preservation or pleasure. The second precept is that each of us should be willing to lay down our natural rights to everything to the extent that others are also willing, and Hobbes concludes with the need to subordinate ourselves to a sovereign who alone will be able to secure peace. He argues for the authority in the interpretation of Scripture to be given to that same earthly sovereign, and not to competing ecclesiastical authorities whose competition had been seen to exacerbate the miseries of war both in Britain and on the continent Ibid.

John Locke — followed Hobbes in deriving morality from our need to live together in peace given our natural discord, but he denied that we are mechanically moved by our desires. He agreed with Hobbes in saying that moral laws are God's imposition, but disagreed by making God's power and benevolence both necessary conditions for God's authority in this respect Treatises , IV. He also held that our reason can work out counsels or advice about moral matters; but only God's imposition makes law and hence obligation , and we only know about God's imposition from revelation The Reasonableness of Christianity , 62—5.

He therefore devoted considerable attention to justifying our belief in the reliability of revelation. The deists e. Frances Hutcheson — was not a deist, but does give a reading of the sort of guidance involved here. He distinguished between objects that are naturally good, which excite personal or selfish pleasure, and those that are morally good, which are advantageous to all persons affected. He took himself to be giving a reading of moral goodness as agape , the Greek word for the love of our neighbor that Jesus prescribes. Because these definitions of natural and moral good produce a possible gap between the two, we need some way to believe that morality and happiness are coincident.

This moral sense responds to examples of benevolence with approbation and a unique kind of pleasure, and benevolence is the only thing it responds to, as it were the only signal it picks up. It is, like Scotus's affection for justice, not confined to our perception of advantage. God shows benevolence by first making us benevolent and then giving us this moral sense that gets joy from the approbation of our benevolence. To contemporary British opponents of moral sense theory, this seemed too rosy or benign a picture; our joy in approving benevolence is not enough to make morality and happiness coincident.

We need also obligation and divine sanction. Joseph Butler —, Bishop of Bristol and then of Durham held that God's goodness consists in benevolence, in wanting us to be happy, and that we should want the same for each other. He made the important point that something can be good for an agent because it is what he wants without this meaning that the content of what he wants has anything to do with himself Fifteen Sermons , — David Hume —76 is the first figure in this narrative who can properly be attached to the Enlightenment, though this term means very different things in Scotland, in France and in Germany. Hume held that reason cannot command or move the human will.

The denial of motive power to reason is part of his general skepticism. He accepted from Locke the principle that our knowledge is restricted to sense impressions from experience and logically necessary relations of ideas in advance of experience in Latin, a priori. From this principle he derived more radical conclusions than Locke had done. For example, we cannot know about causation or the soul. The only thing we can know about morals is that we get pleasure from the thought of some things and pain from the thought of others.

Hume thought we could get conventional moral conclusions from these moral sentiments, which nature has fortunately given us. Probably he included premises about God's will or nature or action. This does not mean he was arguing against the existence of God. Some scholars take this remark like similar statements in Hobbes as purely ironic, but this goes beyond the evidence. The Enlightenment in France had a more anti-clerical flavor in part because of the history of Jansenism, unique to France , and for the first time in this narrative we meet genuine atheists, such as Baron d'Holbach —89 who held not only that morality did not need religion, but that religion, and especially Christianity, was its major impediment.

He accepted from the English deists the idea that what is true in Christian teachings is the core of human values that are universally true in all religions, and like the German rationalists he admired Confucius. Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, famously, that mankind is born free, but everywhere he is in chains The Social Contract , Ch. This supposes a disjunction between nature and contemporary society, and Rousseau held that the life of primitive human beings was happy inasmuch as they knew how to live in accordance with their own innate needs; now we need some kind of social contract to protect us from the corrupting effects of society upon the proper love of self.

Nature is understood as the whole realm of being created by God, who guarantees its goodness, unity, and order. Rousseau held that we do not need any intermediary between us and God, and we can attain salvation by returning to nature in this high sense and by developing all our faculties harmoniously. Our ultimate happiness is to feel ourselves at one with the system that God created. Immanuel Kant — is the most important figure of the Enlightenment in Germany, but his project is different in many ways from those of his French contemporaries. He was brought up in a pietist Lutheran family, and his system retains many features from, for example, Crusius.

But he was also indebted through Wolff to Leibniz. He accepted from Hume that our knowledge is confined within the limits of possible sense experience, but he did not accept skeptical conclusions about causation or the soul. Reason is not confined, in his view, to the same limits as knowledge, and we are rationally required to hold beliefs about things as they are in themselves, not merely things as they appear to us. In particular, we are required to believe in God, freedom and immortality. Kant thought that humans have to be able to believe that morality in this demanding form is consistent in the long run with happiness both their own and that of the people they affect by their actions , if they are going to be able to persevere in the moral life without rational instability.

He did not accept the three traditional theoretical arguments for the existence of God though he was sympathetic to a modest version of the teleological argument. But the practical argument was decisive for him, though he held that it was possible to be morally good without being a theist, despite such a position being rationally unstable. In Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason he undertook the project of using moral language in order to translate the four main themes of Biblical revelation accessible only to particular people at particular times into the revelation to Reason accessible to all people at all times.

This does not mean that he intended to reduce Biblical faith to morality, though some scholars have taken him this way. The translated versions of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Second Coming are as follows see Hare : Humans have an initial predisposition to the good, which is essential to them, but is overlaid with a propensity to evil, which is not essential to them. One key step in departing from the surviving influence in Kant of Lutheran pietism was taken by Johann Gottlieb Fichte — , who identified as Kant did not the will of the individual with the infinite Ego which is ordering the universe morally.

He thought that Geist moves immanently through human history, and that the various stages of knowledge are also stages of freedom, each stage producing first its own internal contradiction, and then a radical transition into a new stage. The stage of absolute freedom will be one in which all members freely by reason endorse the organic community and the concrete institutions in which they actually live Phenomenology , BB, VI, B, III. One of Hegel's opponents was Arthur Schopenhauer — , the philosopher of pessimism. Schopenhauer thought that Hegel had strayed from the Kantian truth that there is a thing-in-itself beyond appearance, and that the Will is such a thing.

It is, moreover, one universal Will that underlies the wills of all separate individuals. The intellect and its ideas are simply the Will's servant. On this view, there is no happiness for us, and our only consolation is a quasi-Buddhist release from the Will to the limited extent we can attain it, especially through aesthetic enjoyment. Right Hegelians promoted the generally positive view of the Prussian state that Hegel expressed in the Philosophy of Right. Left Hegelians rejected it, and with it the Protestant Christianity which they saw as its vehicle. In this way Hegel's peculiar way of promoting Christianity ended up causing its vehement rejection by thinkers who shared many of his social ideals.

Feuerbach thought religion resulted from humanity's alienation from itself, and philosophy needed to destroy the religious illusion so that we could learn to love humankind and not divert this love onto an imaginary object. Karl Marx —83 followed Feuerbach in this diagnosis of religion, but he was interested primarily in social and political relations rather than psychology.

He became suspicious of theory for example Hegel's , on the grounds that theory is itself a symptom of the power structures in the societies that produce it. Marx returned to Hegel's thoughts about work revealing to the worker his value through what the worker produces, but Marx argues that under capitalism the worker was alienated from this product because other people owned both the product and the means of producing it. Thus he believed, like Hegel, in progress through history towards freedom, but he thought it would take Communist revolution to bring this about. Kierkegaard mocked Hegel constantly for presuming to understand the whole system in which human history is embedded, while still being located in a particular small part of it.

On the other hand, he used Hegelian categories of thought himself, especially in his idea of the aesthetic life, the ethical life and the religious life as stages through which human beings develop by means of first internal contradiction and then radical transition. Kierkegaard's relation with Kant was problematic as well. On the other hand, his own description of the religious life is full of echoes of Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.

Kierkegaard wrote most of his work pseudonymously, taking on the names of characters who lived the lives he describes. This life deconstructs, because it requires in order to sustain interest the very commitment that it also rejects. The transition is accomplished by making a choice for one's life as a whole from a position that is not attached to any particular project, a radical choice that requires admitting the aesthetic life has been a failure. But this life too deconstructs, because it sets up the goal of living by a demand, the moral law, that is higher than we can live by our own human devices. Friedrich Nietzsche — was the son of a Lutheran pastor in Prussia. He was trained as a classical philologist, and his first book, The Birth of Tragedy , was an account of the origin and death of ancient Greek tragedy.

The breaking point seems to have been Wagner's Parsifal. Nietzsche saw clearly the intimate link between Christianity and the ethical theories of his predecessors in Europe, especially Kant. It is harder to know what Nietzsche was for, than what he was against. This is partly an inheritance from Schopenhauer, who thought any system of constructive ethical thought a delusion. To return to Britain, Hume had a number of successors who accepted the view which Hume took from Hutcheson that our fundamental obligation is to work for the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

Four are especially significant. William Paley — thought he could demonstrate that morality derived from the will of God and required promoting the happiness of all, that happiness was the sum of pleasures, and that we need to believe that God is the final granter of happiness if we are to sustain motivation to do what we know we ought to do The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy , II. Jeremy Bentham — rejected this theological context. He thought he could provide a scientific calculus of pleasures, where the unit that stays constant is the minimum state of sensibility that can be distinguished from indifference.

Discarding the theological context made moral motivation problematic, for why should we expect without God more units of pleasure for ourselves by contributing to the greater pleasure of others? John Stuart Mill —73 was raised on strict utilitarian principles by his father, a follower of Bentham. Unlike Bentham, however, Mill accepted that there are qualitative differences in pleasures simply as pleasures, and he thought that the higher pleasures were those of the intellect, the feelings and imagination, and the moral sentiments. He observed that those who have experienced both these and the lower pleasures, tend to prefer the former.

He realized that his education had neglected the culture or cultivation of feelings , of which hope is a primary instance Autobiography , 1. Mill did not believe, however, that God was omnipotent, given all the evil in the world, and he insisted, like Kant, that we have to be God's co-workers, not merely passive recipients of God's assistance. Henry Sidgwick — in Methods of Ethics distinguished three methods: Intuitionism which is, roughly, the common sense morality that some things, like deliberate ingratitude to a benefactor, are self-evidently wrong in themselves independently of their consequences , Egoistic Hedonism the view that self-evidently an individual ought to aim at a maximum balance of happiness for herself, where this is understood as the greatest balance of pleasure over pain , and Utilitarianism or Universalistic Hedonism, the view that self-evidently she ought to aim at the maximum balance of happiness for all sentient beings present and future, whatever the cost to herself.

Of these three, he rejected the first, on the grounds that no concrete ethical principles are self-evident, and that when they conflict as they do we have to take consequences into account in order to decide how to act. But Sidgwick found the relation between the other two methods much more problematic. Each principle separately seemed to him self-evident, but when taken together they seems to be mutually inconsistent. He considered two solutions, psychological and metaphysical. The psychological solution was to bring in the pleasures and pains of sympathy, so that if we do good to all we end up because of these pleasures making ourselves happiest. Sidgwick rejected this on the basis that sympathy is inevitably limited in its range, and we feel it most towards those closest to us, so that even if we include sympathetic pleasures and pains under Egoism, it will tend to increase the divergence between Egoistic and Utilitarian conduct, rather than bring them closer together.

The metaphysical solution was to bring in a god who desires the greatest total good of all living things, and who will reward and punish in accordance with this desire. He thought this solution was both necessary and sufficient to remove the contradiction in ethics. But this was only a reason to accept it, if in general it is reasonable to accept certain principles such as the Uniformity of Nature which are not self-evident and which cannot be proved, but which bring order and coherence into a central part of our thought. Sidgwick did not commit himself to an answer to this, one way or the other.

Towards the end of the century, however, there were more philosophers who could speak the languages of both traditions. The beginning of the analytic school is sometimes located with the rejection of a neo-Hegelian idealism by G. Moore One way to characterize the two schools is that the Continental school continued to read and be influenced by Hegel, and the Analytic school with some exceptions did not.

Another way to make the distinction is geographical; the analytic school is located primarily in Britain, Scandinavia and N. America, and the continental school in the rest of Europe, in Latin America and in certain schools in N. We will start with some figures from the Continental school, and then move to the analytic which is this writer's own. Martin Heidegger — was initially trained as a theologian, and wrote his dissertation on what he took to be a work of Duns Scotus.

He took an appointment under Edmund Husserl — at Freiburg, and was then appointed to succeed him in his chair. In this sense he is the first existentialist, though he did not use the term. On the other hand he is unlike Kierkegaard in thinking of traditional Christianity as just one more convention making authentic existence more difficult. In Heidegger, as in Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, it is hard to find a positive or constructive ethics. Heidegger's position is somewhat compromised, moreover, by his initial embrace of the Nazi party. In his later work he moved increasingly towards a kind of quasi-religious mysticism. He denied like Scotus that the moral law could be deduced from human nature, but this was because unlike Scotus he thought that we give ourselves our own essences by the choices we make.

On this view there are no outside commands to appeal to for legitimation, and we are condemned to our own freedom. Sartre thought of human beings as trying to be God on a Hegelian account of what God is , even though there is no God. Moreover, we inevitably desire to choose not just for ourselves, but for the world. Therefore, I am responsible for myself and for everyone else. I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. One form of bad faith is to pretend that there is a God who is giving us our tasks. To live authentically is to realize both that we create these tasks for ourselves, and that they are futile. The twentieth century also saw, within Roman Catholicism, forms of Christian Existentialism and new adaptations of the system of Thomas Aquinas.

Gabriel Marcel — , like Heidegger, was concerned with the nature of Being as it appears to human being, but he tried to show that there are experiences of love, joy, hope and faith which, as understood from within , give us reason to believe in an inexhaustible Presence, which is God. Jacques Maritain — developed a form of Thomism that retained the natural law, but regarded ethical judgment as not purely cognitive but guided by pre-conceptual affective inclinations.

He gave more place to history than traditional Thomism did, allowing for development in the human knowledge of natural law, and he defended democracy as the appropriate way for human persons to attain freedom and dignity. Natural law theory has been taken up and modified more recently by three philosophers who write in a style closer to the analytic tradition, John Finnis, Alastair MacIntyre and Jean Porter.

Finnis holds that our knowledge of the fundamental moral truths is self-evident, and so is not deduced from human nature. His Natural Law and Natural Rights was a landmark in integrating the modern vocabulary and grammar of rights into the tradition of Natural Law. MacIntyre, who has been on a long journey back from Marxism to Thomism, holds that we can know what kind of life we ought to live on the basis of knowing our natural end, which he now identifies in theological terms.

In After Virtue he is still influenced by a Hegelian historicism, and holds that the only way to settle rival knowledge claims is to see how successfully each can account for the shape taken by its rivals. A different account of natural law is found in Porter, who in Nature as Reason retains the view that our final motivation is our own happiness and perfection, but rejects the view that we can deduce absolute action-guiding moral principles from human nature. They are not Roman Catholic but they are strongly influenced by Aristotle and Aquinas.

They emphasize the notion of virtue which belongs to human nature just as bees have stings. Hursthouse ends her book by saying that we have to hold onto the hope that we can live together, not at each other's expense, a hope which she says used to be called belief in God's Providence On Virtue Ethics , One final contribution to be mentioned here is Linda Zagzebski's Divine Motivation Theory which proposes, as an alternative to divine command theory, that we can understand all moral normatively in terms of the notion of a good emotion, and that God's emotions are the best exemplar.

We will return to the rebirth of divine command theory at the end of this entry. Foucault criticized Christian conventions that tend to take morality as a juristic and often universal code of laws, and to ignore the creative practice of self-making. Even if Christian and post-Christian moralists turn their attention to self-expression, he thought they tend to focus on the confession of truth about oneself, a mode of expression which is historically linked to the church and the modern psycho-sciences.

He did not, however, tell us much more about what these new forms would be like. I and II. By analyzing the structure of communication using speech-act theory developed in analytic philosophy he lays out a procedure that will rationally justify norms, though he does not claim to know what norms a society will adopt by using this procedure. The two ideas behind this procedure are that norms are valid if they receive the consent of all the affected parties in unconstrained practical communication, and if the consequences of the general observance of the norms in terms of how each person's interests are affected are acceptable to all.

Habermas thinks he fulfills in this way Hegel's aim of reconciling the individual and society, because the communication process extends individuals beyond their private perspectives in the process of reaching agreement. Religious convictions need to be left behind when entering the public square, on this scheme, because they are not communicable in the way the procedure requires. In recent work he has modified this position, by recognizing that certain religious forms require their adherents to speak in an explicitly religious way when advancing their prescriptions for public life, and it is discriminatory to try to prevent their doing so.

Within contemporary Jewish ethics mention should be made of Martin Buber — and Emmanuel Levinas — Buber's form of existentialism emphasized the I-You relationship, which exists not only between human beings but out of that between human beings and God. When we reject I-You relationship, we return to I-It relations, governed by our impositions of our own conceptualizations on objects. Buber said these two relations are exhaustive. Levinas studied under Husserl, and knew Heidegger, whose work he first embraced and then rejected. To meet the Other is to have the idea of Infinity Ethics and Infinity , 90—1. This term is problematic in various ways. As used within architectural theory in the 's and 's it had a relatively clear sense.

There was a recognizable style that either borrowed bits and pieces from styles of the past, or mocked the very idea in modernist architecture of essential functionality. In philosophy, the term is less clearly definable. The effect on philosophical thinking about the relation between morality and religion is two-fold. On the one hand, the modernist rejection of religion on the basis of a foundationalist empiricism is itself rejected.

This makes the current climate more hospitable to religious language than it was for most of the twentieth century. But on the other hand, the distaste for over-arching theory means that religious meta-narratives are suspect to the same degree as any other, and the hospitality is more likely to be towards bits and pieces of traditional theology than to any theological system as a whole. Mention should be made of some movements that are not philosophical in a professional sense, but are important in understanding the relation between morality and religion. The civil rights movement drawing heavily on Exodus , feminist ethics, animal liberation, environmental ethics, and the gay rights and children's rights movements have shown special sensitivity to the moral status of some particular oppressed class.

The leadership of some of these movements has been religiously committed, while the leadership of others has not. At the same time, the notion of human rights, or justified claims by every human being, has grown in global reach, partly through the various instrumentalities of the United Nations. There has, however, been less consensus on the question of how to justify human rights. There are theological justifications, deriving from the image of God in every human being, or the command to love the neighbor, or the covenant between God and humanity see Wolterstorff, Justice : Rights and Wrongs , chapter Whether there is a non-theological justification is not yet clear.

Finally, there has also been a burst of activity in professional ethics, such as medical ethics, engineering ethics, and business ethics. This has not been associated with any one school of philosophy rather than another. The connection of religion with these developments has been variable. In some cases e. The origin of analytic philosophy can be associated with G. His Principia Ethica can be regarded as the first major ethical document of the school. He was strongly influenced by Sidgwick at Cambridge, but rejected Sidgwick's negative views about intuitionism.

He thought that intrinsic goodness was a real property of things, even though like the number two it does not exist in time and is not the object of sense experience. For example, they proposed that goodness is pleasure, or what produces pleasure. But whatever non-evaluative property we try to say goodness is identical to, we will find that it remains an open question whether that property is in fact good. For example, it makes sense to ask whether pleasure or the production of pleasure is good. This is true also if we propose a supernatural property to identify with goodness, for example the property of being commanded by God.

It still makes sense to ask whether what God commands is good. Moore thought that if these questions are different, then the two properties, goodness and being commanded by God, cannot be the same, and to say by way of a definition that they are the same is to commit the fallacy. Intrinsic goodness, Moore said, is a simple non-natural property i. By this he meant that the access was not based on inference or argument, but was self-evident though we could still get it wrong, just as we can with sense-perception.

He thought the way to determine what things had positive value intrinsically was to consider what things were such that, if they existed by themselves in isolation, we would yet judge their existence to be good. Russell was not primarily a moral philosopher, but he expressed radically different views at different times about ethics. In he agreed with Moore that goodness like roundness is a quality that belongs to objects independently of our opinions, and that when two people differ about whether a thing is good, only one of them can be right. Then by he had dropped also the claim about meaning, holding that value judgments are expressions of desire or wish, and not assertions at all.

Wittgenstein's views on ethics are enigmatic and subject to wildly different interpretations. Ethics is transcendental. Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same. Perhaps he means that the world we occupy is good or bad and happy or unhappy as a whole, and not piece-by-piece. Wittgenstein like Nietzsche was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer's notion of will, and by his disdain for ethical theories that purport to be able to tell one what to do and what not to do.

Ayer — The theory is supported by the Christian view that God is all-powerful because this implies that God creates moral truths, rather than moral truths existing independently of him, which seems inconsistent with his omnipotence. Saint Augustine offered a version of divine command theory that began by casting ethics as the pursuit of the supreme good , which delivers human happiness. He argued that to achieve this happiness, humans must love objects that are worthy of human love in the correct manner; this requires humans to love God, which then allows them to correctly love that which is worthy of being loved.

Augustine's ethics proposed that the act of loving God enables humans to properly orient their loves, leading to human happiness and fulfilment. However, unlike Plato, he believed that achieving a well-ordered soul had a higher purpose: living in accordance with God's commands. His view of morality was thus heteronomous , as he believed in deference to a higher authority God , rather than acting autonomously. Scholastic philosopher John Duns Scotus argued that the only moral obligations that God could not take away from humans involve loving God, as God is, definitionally, the most loveable thing. This means that the commands of natural law do not depend on God's will, and thus form the first three commandments of the Ten Commandments.

The last seven of the Ten Commandments do not belong to the natural law in the strictest sense. Scotus does note, however that the last seven commandments. And it is certain that all the precepts of the second table belong to the natural law in this second way, since their rectitude is highly consonant with first practical principles that are known necessarily ".

Scotus justifies this position with the example of a peaceful society, noting that the possession of private property is not necessary to have a peaceful society, but that "those of weak character" would be more easily made peaceful with private property than without. Hence, the last seven commandments do belong to the natural law, but not in the strictest sense, as they belong to the natural law by rectitude rather than by definition. Whilst Aquinas, as a natural law theorist, is generally seen as holding that morality is not willed by God, [15] Kelly James Clark and Anne Poortenga have presented a defence of divine command theory based on Aquinas' moral theory.

Aquinas proposed a theory of natural law which asserted that something is moral if it works towards the purpose of human existence, and so human nature can determine what is moral. Clark and Poortenga argued that God created human nature and thus commanded a certain morality; hence he cannot arbitrarily change what is right or wrong for humans. The deontological ethics of Immanuel Kant has been cast as rejecting divine command theory by several figures, among whom is ethicist R. Kant's view that morality should be determined by the categorical imperative — duty to the moral law, rather than acting for a specific end — has been viewed as incompatible with divine command theory.

Philosopher and theologian John E. Hare has noted that some philosophers see divine command theory as an example of Kant's heteronomous will — motives besides the moral law, which Kant regarded as non-moral. Hare challenges this view, arguing that Kantian ethics should be seen as compatible with divine command theory. American philosopher Robert Merrihew Adams proposes what he calls a "modified divine command theory".

He proposes that God's commands precede moral truths and must be explained in terms of moral truths, not the other way around. Adams writes that his theory is an attempt to define what being ethically 'wrong' consists of and accepts that it is only useful to those within a Judeo-Christian context. In dealing with the criticism that a seemingly immoral act would be obligatory if God commanded it, he proposes that God does not command cruelty for its own sake.

Adams does not propose that it would be logically impossible for God to command cruelty, rather that it would be unthinkable for him to do so because of his nature. Adams emphasises the importance of faith in God, specifically faith in God's goodness, as well as his existence. Adams proposes that an action is morally wrong if and only if it defies the commands of a loving God. If cruelty was commanded, he would not be loving; Adams argued that, in this instance, God's commands would not have to be obeyed and also that his theory of ethical wrongness would break down. He proposed that divine command morality assumes that human concepts of right and wrong are met by God's commands and that the theory can only be applied if this is the case.

It attempts to challenge the claim that an external standard of morality prevents God from being sovereign by making him the source of morality and his character the moral law. Adams proposes that in many Judeo-Christian contexts, the term 'wrong' is used to mean being contrary to God's commands. In ethical contexts, he believes that 'wrong' entails an emotional attitude against an action and that these two uses of wrongness usually correlate.

If God commanded what a believer perceived as wrong, the believer would not say it is right or wrong to disobey him; rather their concept of morality would break down. Michael Austin writes that an implication of this modified divine command theory is that God cannot command cruelty for its own sake; this could be argued to be inconsistent with God's omnipotence. Thomas Aquinas argued that God's omnipotence should be understood as the ability to do all things that are possible: he attempted to refute the idea that God's inability to perform illogical actions challenges his omnipotence.

Austin contends that commanding cruelty for its own sake is not illogical, so is not covered by Aquinas' defence, although Aquinas had argued that sin is the falling short of a perfect action and thus not compatible with omnipotence. Paul Copan argues from a Christian viewpoint that man, made in God's image, conforms to God's sense of morality. The description of actions as right or wrong are therefore relevant to God; a person's sense of what is right or wrong corresponds to God's. We would not know goodness without God's endowing us with a moral constitution. We have rights, dignity, freedom, and responsibility because God has designed us this way.

In this, we reflect God's moral goodness as His image-bearers. As an alternative to divine command theory, Linda Zagzebski has proposed divine motivation theory, which still fits into a monotheistic framework. According to this theory, goodness is determined by God's motives, rather than by what he commands. Divine motivation theory is similar to virtue ethics because it considers the character of an agent, and whether they are in accordance with God's, as the standard for moral value. God's attitude towards something is cast as a morally good attitude.

Philosopher William Wainwright considered a challenge to the theory on semantic grounds, arguing that "being commanded by God" and "being obligatory" do not mean the same thing, contrary to what the theory suggests. He used the example of water not having an identical meaning to H 2 O to propose that "being commanded by God" does not have an identical meaning to "being obligatory".

This was not an objection to the truth of divine command theory, but Wainwright believed it demonstrated that the theory should not be used to formulate assertions about the meaning of obligation. He suggested that, even if one accepts that being commanded by God and being morally right are the same, they may not be synonyms because they might be different in other possible worlds. Michael Austin has noted that divine command theory could be criticised for prompting people to be moral with impure motivations. He writes of the objection that a moral life should be sought because morality is valued, rather than to avoid punishment or receive a reward.

This punishment and reward system of motivation could be seen as inadequate. The Euthyphro dilemma was proposed in Plato's dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro. In the scene, Socrates and Euthyphro are discussing the nature of piety when Socrates presents the dilemma, which can be presented as the question 'Is X good because God commands it, or does God command X because it is good? Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

The Euthyphro dilemma can elicit the response that an action is good because God commands the action, or that God commands an action because it is good. If the first is chosen, it would imply that whatever God commands must be good: even if he commanded someone to inflict suffering, then inflicting suffering must be moral. If the latter is chosen, then morality is no longer dependent on God, defeating the divine command theory. Additionally, if God is subject to an external law, he is not sovereign or omnipotent , which would challenge the orthodox conception of God. Proponents of the Euthyphro dilemma might claim that divine command theory is obviously wrong because either answer challenges the ability of God to give moral laws.

William of Ockham responded to the Euthyphro Dilemma by ' biting the bullet '. He argued that, if God did command people to be cruel, then that would be morally obligatory, proposing that the only limitation to what God can make obligatory is the principle of non-contradiction. Even if God could logically command these actions, he would not because that is not his character. They propose that God and goodness are identical and that this is what makes his commands good. American philosopher William Alston responded to the Euthyphro dilemma by considering what it means for God to be morally good.

If divine command theory is accepted, it implies that God is good because he obeys his own commands; Alston argued that this is not the case and that God's goodness is distinct from abiding by moral obligations. He suggested that a moral obligation implies that there is some possibility that the agent may not honour their obligation; Alston argued that this possibility does not exist for God, so his morality must be distinct from simply obeying his own commands. Alston contended that God is the supreme standard of morality and acts according to his character, which is necessarily good.

There is no more arbitrariness in this view than accepting another moral standard. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , and some more recent philosophers, challenged the theory because it seems to entail that God's goodness consists of his following his own commands. It is argued that, if divine command theory is accepted, God's obligations would be what he commanded himself to do; the concept of God commanding himself is seen as incoherent. Neither could God hold any virtues, as a virtue would be the disposition to follow his own commands — if he cannot logically command himself, then he cannot logically have any virtues.

Edward Wierenga counters this by claiming that whatever God chooses to do is good, but that his nature means that his actions would always be praiseworthy. William Wainwright argues that, although God does not act because of his commands, it is still logical to say that God has reasons for his actions. He proposes that God is motivated by what is morally good and, when he commands what is morally good, it becomes morally obligatory. Michael Austin draws attention to an objection from autonomy, which argues that morality requires an agent to freely choose which principles they live by. This challenges the view of divine command theory that God's will determines what is good because humans are no longer autonomous, but followers of an imposed moral law, making autonomy incompatible with divine command theory.

Robert Adams challenges this criticism, arguing that humans must still choose to accept or reject God's commands and rely on their independent judgement about whether or not to follow them. Austin considers the view that, in a world of religious pluralism , it is impossible to know which god's or religion's commands should be followed, especially because some religions contradict others, leaving it impossible to accept all of them.

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