Thursday, February 21, 2013

News Flash: The Euthyphro Dilemma Is Dead!

It seems like ever since Plato wrote the dialogue called “Euthyphro” around 400 B.C. the Euthyphro dilemma periodically resurfaces as an atheist argument against the idea that God grounds morality. The Euthyphro dilemma has recently resurfaced in the debate between William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg and in an article in Aeon by Troy Jollimore entitled “Godless yet good” which was mentioned in the New York Time’s “The Stone” series. The dilemma that Socrates posed to Euthyphro in the dialogue goes something like this: does God arbitrarily decide that a particular action is immoral or does God declare that a particular action is immoral because it is inherently so? If an action such as murder is arbitrarily chosen as wrong by God then why is it necessarily wrong? If murder is inherently wrong then there is no need for God to command that it is wrong. The problem is that this argument is a false dilemma. A third option is that objective morals and duties flow out of God’s perfectly good being. So, God is the metaphysical ground for the existence of objective morals and duties. The truth is that the Euthyphro dilemma has been a dead argument for some time now.