dilemma, Euthyphro

   The Euthyphro dilemma is the question, classically posed by Plato in his dialogue the Euthyphro, concerning the relative priority of God's will and moral properties. For example, are actions morally right because God commands them, or does God command actions because they are morally right? While the Roman-Catholic tradition has tended to take the second horn of the dilemma, many Christian philosophers from the Protestant tradition have tended to take the first horn. One objection to the second horn is that it apparently establishes a moral realm separate from God and outside his power; an objection to the first horn is that it seems to make morality arbitrary and to evacuate of all content the believer's praise for God's perfect goodness. Attempts have also been made to escape between the horns of the dilemma by arguing that morality is a reflection of the nature of God, but that God's nature is unalterable, even by God himself.
   Further reading: Adams, Robert Merrihew 1987; Hare 2001; Helm 1981; Plato 1977 and 1981

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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