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A Solution to the So-Called Euthyphro Dilemma

by John Shaheen—

*John wrote this as a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology) who graduates this weekend. He has also been the student president of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.


Despite having been written over two millennia ago, the Euthyphro Dilemma remains one of the most famous and persistent problems in philosophy of religion.  It is still being discussed in published literature today and taught in nearly every intro philosophy course.  In its original form, Plato writes of a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro (Plato et al., 2017).  Socrates asks Euthyphro whether moral goodness (piety) was defined by the gods choosing it, or were the gods just cognizant of a standard that existed outside themselves?  This question has been reposed over the centuries to apply to a more orthodox, monotheistic conception of God.  While many thinkers have merely accepted and defended one of the horns of the dilemma, others have contested that it is a false dilemma and proposed other options.  William Alston, Paul Copan, and William Lane Craig are a few names that have defended the coherence of a third option (Alston, 2001, Copan & Meister 2008, Craig & Moreland, 2012.)  Furthermore, they defend that an argument for God’s existence can be crafted from the existence of objective moral values and duties.  This argument require that their theistic explanation is the best account of morality that is currently available.  The Euthyphro Dilemma, if successful, undermines this project.  Here I will argue that the Euthyphro dilemma is unsuccessful in this regard, hence the moral argument cannot be criticized from this direction.
  • 26 April 2022
  • Author: Guest Blogger
  • Number of views: 484
  • Comments: 0
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