Talk:Euthyphro dilemma

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Platonic question[edit]

Plato lived in a polytheistic culture: what should be done when 'different gods want different things'? (talk) 19:07, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

That was already an uncomfortable question for the religious moralists of the day. There isn't a single answer much like there isn't a single answer to the problem of evil in today's monotheists. My understanding is the most common view that different gods lay down different rules for different classes of people. So as such, the morality of how to treat travelers and guests was Zeus' domain, and behavior at sea was determined by Poseidon, Mars told you how to act in war, and there was a kinda non-overlapping duty there. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 19:17, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Demarcation lines will get round certain issues ('treating visitors politely as they may be visiting gods, and if human at sea they may help in bad weather, but do not boast of your wealth in case they are spies or your monarch's tax inspectors' would be a useful general rule), while 'In Rome do as the Romans do, elsewhere do likewise' will deal with others. And what happens with composite gods - Sulis Minerva and Amon Ra are probably the two best known such. Then there are the gods in conflict - The Trojan War etc. (talk) 18:58, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

Metaphysical view[edit]

I added a couple changes to my initial edit. If there are arguments against this view -- Plato's view that "goodness" is some qualitative attribute, rather than a concrete, quantitative attribute akin to temperature, leads him to voice these concerns; proponents of Plato worry about the possible arbitrariness of what is defined as good because they do not view goodness' definition as etched into the very design of the universe; on the other hand, nobody bothers worrying about the possible arbitrariness of physics because they understand redefining physics would result in the creation of a completely different universe -- Please edit to address your concerns and discuss them here. --Bertrc (talk) 20:50, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

Also, trying to hide your reverts as "minor" edits is not cricket. --Bertrc (talk) 21:18, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
It is not clear from what you have written how God making things intrinsically good is meaningfully different from divine command theory. Your proposal appears to reduce to it. Nobody worries about the Euthyphro problem with respect to the laws of physics because it is fundamentally a question of justification in ethics. It suggests that either things are good independently of God, and thus that good is unnecessary for morality, or else that things are good by God's command, in which case good and bad are dependent on God's will, and He is apparently good by definition. If this is the case, it is conceivable that God could have had all the values and characteristics typically associated with the devil, and still be good simply because good is defined relative to God. Your argument seems to redefine "intrinsic," which in context pretty clearly means "independent of, or prior to, God." On this definition, if God makes things a certain way, they are not that way intrinsically by definition. The laws of physics make no moral claims, nor do they claim to be an authority defining how the universe works. They are derived from empirical data, and were created to describe this data and make predictions; if sufficiently compelling observations of a violation of the laws of physics were made, they would be changed. Insofar as Euthyphro logic is applicable to the laws of physics, it is easily resolved. Reality does not derive is rules from the laws of physics, so Physics Command Theory is false; the laws of physics derive their authority by describing independent phenomena adequately: so the first fork is taken. (talk) 21:49, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
Hmmm, I am still working on my phrasing, but I feel you are making the same assumption that Plato did. You talk about "Justification" for some moral measurement but believe that the physical laws do not require justification. Now, if there is no God then I would say you definitely have the correct perspective. However, if there is a God that created the moral laws of this world as robustly as the physical laws, then your perspective might not be the most accurate. Our understanding of the laws of physics certainly were derived from empirical evidence; however, those laws existed long before we understood them as such and they would apply even if we had never figured them out. Early man in Africa may have argued back and forth over whether a day was warmer or colder than a previous day -- or whether a particular day was warm or cold over all -- because they did not have a means to accurately measure the temperature; however, there was an absolute measurement that existed. Similarly, if there actually is a God, then morality might be as robust temperature, but we lack the tools to quantify it; we are left with how something feels and use broad general rules for those estimations. Christians tend to believe that morality is absolute (which does not mean they all claim to be absolute judge, themselves) --Bertrc (talk) 00:33, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
On a related note, I may have misunderstood you, but I would argue that reality is derived from the rules and laws that we place under the term "physics" (although reality might depend on additional things) After all, if you changed C, or the weak or strong nuclear forces, or gravity's rules, then this would be a very different universe. --Bertrc (talk) 00:33, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
I think perhaps we have been discussing slightly different things when referring to the laws of physics. I think we must distinguish between the laws of physics as real universal laws that truly govern everything in the universe, and the empirical laws of physics which are approximations to these (by now pretty good ones). One might fruitfully frame a distinction between prescriptive laws of physics created by God to determine the workings of the universe, and descriptive laws merely intended to describe these workings. That is to say, a distinction between laws given by God to say how things shall be, and laws derived by people to say how things are observed to be. And herein lies an interesting point. Since we have discovered that we can derive accurate (or at least approximately accurate) descriptive laws of nature by making careful empirical measurement. We do not worry over these descriptive laws precisely because they are derived from observation. But as you note, we seem to face a much more challenging problem with morality. If we observe, say, what various people think is the morally right thing across a variety of moral situations, then we can form a reliable descriptive morality, but this may do little or nothing for us in establishing a prescriptive morality, one which tells us how we should act. But I think I am rambling somewhat, and getting away from the my original point, which was just to get clear on our terminology. I interpreted the laws of physics as referring to the descriptive laws derived from empirical evidence, which are revisable in light of new evidence, whereas I think you are referring to the underlying physical realities that these derivative laws describe. Certainly, I must agree that if say, the real and intrinsic laws of gravity changed, then we would inhabit a totally different universe. Anyway, I haven't looked back again at the changes you've made, so I can't evaluate anything else at the moment, but I'll perhaps look over it again and see if I can provide any further feedback. (talk) 00:59, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
OmnicronReborn, Yes, I was referring to the actual, underlying rules of the universe (I think you used the term "prescriptive" laws) I was not worried about the phrasing we use to describe those rules (which I think you call "descriptive" laws) Heh, people could start describing the interaction between masses as a repelling force, but changing the description would not change the actual fact.  :-D To make a parallel, "morality" might be a prescriptive element of this universe; it could be part of an absolute, defined set of rules governing this universe. "Morals" could be seen as descriptive; rules with which we try to describe morality (to greater or lesser degrees of accuracy) --Bertrc (talk) 17:09, 13 May 2021 (UTC)