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Divine Command Morality is incompatible with God being good.
Posted: 23 March 2011 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A revised version of this OP is in comment #7
a further and better revision is now in comment #8

The basic argument is:-

P1: If God is good, then God would deny Divine Command Morality (DCM)
P2: God promotes DCM, that is God does not deny DCM
C: Therefore god is not good (modus tollens)

I will assume that P2 is not in dispute and, anyway, this argument is only aimed at those theists who do hold P2 i.e. DCM theists. Clearly if P1 is sound, then the conclusion is valid and so it is only P1 that would be disputed.

Whilst we do not need to presume that God is omniscient but only, at least, more knowledgeable than any of us, either way, such a God would be well aware of all the arguments in ethics and their strengths and weaknesses, so:-

S1: Euthyphro Dilemma: God would certainly be aware of the Euthyphro Dilemma showing the independence of God and morality.

O1.Divine Nature (DN) Objection (to S1): God would also have been aware that divine nature ripostes does not resolve the Euthyphro Dilemmma since it just becomes: ‘is it morally good because it is in God’s eternal unchanging nature or is it in God’s eternal unchanging nature because it is morally good?’

O2: Essential Moral Attributes (EMA) Objection: If it is somehow shown that my answer to O1 fails, the DN objection to S1 still fails since God knows that if there is some supposed essential moral attribute in God’s eternal unchanging nature, then it is not in virtue of being such an essential attribute that it is morally good.

S2.If God is good, God would have no issue with morality being independent of God as God has no issue with logic being equivalently outside of God, hence an omnipotent God is not required to do the logically impossible, not being able to do so does not make God not omnipotent.

S3.God would have wanted us to be as informed as possible as to how to be good and so would have informed us not to blindly follow his commands, nor to blindly follow anyone who claimed to know what he commanded, nor to have failed to provide objective convergent methods to properly evaluate whose interpretation of his commands was correct and the reasoning behind them. On this latter, point, this is so even if we have limited time and data to make moral decisions and would have chosen differently, if better informed or, had more time to consider based on only those facts known at the time of decision, or both. God has no such limitations but even if some issues are supposedly too complex for our mortal minds, this is surely not the case for all moral issues and so this does not prevent God explaing his reasoning for at least some - the simpler cases - which we could comprehend. Certainly a good God would have done that.

S4.However if God was not good and so had no moral warrant or justification to get us to behave in an immoral fashion, then it would be expected that God would try to promote commands without reasons, try to get us to accept that it was in his nature to be good, to require blind and unquestionable acceptance of these commands, to apply double think to convince us that what was morally bad was morally good, and to use immoral and unjust carrot and stick methods to enforce these commands. Further we know these are similar to methods have been attempted, sometimes succesfully, as shown in history by what we could all agree were evil tyrants.

It follows that P1 is sound. So the conclusion C is true.

Now DCM theists will, of course, still try dispute P1, but in the very act of doing so they rule out the possibility that the converse of P1, P1’ - ‘If God is good, then God would promote Divine Command Morality (DCM)’ is self-evident or at all obvious and, so, P1’ cannot be assumed but must, instead, be established. Finally, granted the issue over P1, surely P1’ cannot be now be established by assuming any of the other points raised in supporting paragraphs S1, S2, S3 and S4 and resolved objections O1 and O2 without question begging.

I suspect that there are more non-theists than theists in this forum but please play the devils (or is it… ahem ... God’s?) advocate to poke holes in this argument, I won’t hold it against you.

[ Edited: 28 March 2011 07:54 AM by faithlessgod ]
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Posted: 23 March 2011 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A theist could deny P2. They could accept the Euthyphro dilemma, and say that God does not promote DCM. God is good, and God’s commandments are right, not because he commands them but because they are in accordance with the moral law.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 23 March 2011 10:14 AM

A theist could deny P2. They could accept the Euthyphro dilemma, and say that God does not promote DCM. God is good, and God’s commandments are right, not because he commands them but because they are in accordance with the moral law.

Interesting.

If a theist denies P2 then they are not a DCM theist, to whom this argument is aimed at.

Still I used the word “promote” carefully, allowing for various ways and means for DCM to be promote, that is broadly, God himself does not need to directly assert it, only to allow for it to appear be true. (Since if it is not true, a good God would surely have somehow indicated that is false).

Now to deny P2 is to surely allow the converse P2’: ‘God demotes DCM’ (although that semantically does not quite feel right hopeful you get the broad nature of what I am implying).  Yet surely this creates a contradiction since they are still concluding that DCM is true, for the reasons you stated?

Possibly I suspect you are reading DCM narrowly and I am reading it broadly? By broadly I mean any moral theory whose epistemology is based on God’s commands. You are focusing on a purportedly different ontological basis? I did already address these issues in my DN and EMA answers, at least I thought so. They would still apply to anyone who denies P2. Finally if a theist accepts Euthyphro then they are accepting that god’s nature is arbitrary and capricious and cannot just declare by fiat that this nature is good.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Just an extension to my previous reply Doug

Do you mean by accepting Euthyphro that a theist accepts that morality is independent of God, that God voluntarily does only good and these are reflected in his commands?. If so this still does not work IMV but I will only pursue this further pending a clarification of what your interesting (and hopefully not fatal)  objection is. I only want to address the strongest version of it.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

If a theist denies P2 then they are not a DCM theist, to whom this argument is aimed at.

OK, but then you should make that clear: if God’s morality is by divine command, then God is not good.

(NB that this trades on two senses of ‘morality’: God’s purported DCM morality, and the real morality which is not by DC).

faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

Still I used the word “promote” carefully, allowing for various ways and means for DCM to be promote, that is broadly, God himself does not need to directly assert it, only to allow for it to appear be true. (Since if it is not true, a good God would surely have somehow indicated that is false).

Not sure I understand you here. Surely DCM does not appear to be true; I certainly don’t think it does. A theist might say it’s not God’s fault if fools get his morality wrong. (... by asserting DCM which is itself absurd).

One might go on to say that the Bible asserts DCM. But the most this could prove is that God is not the God of the Bible. A theist might, in a pinch, agree to that. They might agree that the Bible is a fallible document. (As all sophisticated theists do).

faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

Finally if a theist accepts Euthyphro then they are accepting that god’s nature is arbitrary and capricious and cannot just declare by fiat that this nature is good.

No, they wouldn’t accept that God’s nature is arbitrary and capricious, rather that it is determined by the Good.

A DCM theist might counterargue that my kind of theist accepts that God is somehow less than completely sovereign, in allowing his views to be determined by something outside himself (something we might call ‘the Good’ following Plato) rather than just making it all up by divine command. But my sort of theist would rebut that claim by saying that the ethical claim (that God can’t make up morality by DC) is just the same as the logical claim that God can’t bring a contradiction into being:  It’s impossible for God to bring a contradiction into being, and it’s no knock on God’s sovereignty or omnipotence that he can’t do the impossible. (Omnipotence = ability to do all that is possible to do). Just the same, it’s impossible for God to make something not-good into something good, just by divine command. Hence it’s no knock on his sovereignty or perfection not to be able to do so.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Some of your answer was already covered in my OP, som enot.

dougsmith - 23 March 2011 12:04 PM
faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

If a theist denies P2 then they are not a DCM theist, to whom this argument is aimed at.

OK, but then you should make that clear: if God’s morality is by divine command, then God is not good.

This is a different proposition, but I hold that it is true too. Maybe I could reformulate my argument as modus ponens

P3:  If God’s morality is by divine command, then God is not good
P4: God’s morality is by divine command
C2: God is not good

Hmm, I am arguing otherwise namely that a good God would not let or encourage us to believe in DCM, that is my P1 which I have defended “If God is good, then God would deny Divine Command Morality (DCM)”, that is on the assumption that God is good does DCM follow? I start by agreeing with the theist that God is, or, at least, could be good and then see if DCM would result.

(NB that this trades on two senses of ‘morality’: God’s purported DCM morality, and the real morality which is not by DC).

Not quite. The presumption is that if God is good and cleverer than us, God would know what is the best moral theory and encourage us to use it and would know that this is not DCM and so would not promote that. So, yes, God would know that the “real morality” is not DCM which is not to say that morality is objective, whatever the best answer is God would know that, even if it is nihilism for example.

faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

Still I used the word “promote” carefully, allowing for various ways and means for DCM to be promote, that is broadly, God himself does not need to directly assert it, only to allow for it to appear be true. (Since if it is not true, a good God would surely have somehow indicated that is false).

Not sure I understand you here. Surely DCM does not appear to be true; I certainly don’t think it does. A theist might say it’s not God’s fault if fools get his morality wrong. (... by asserting DCM which is itself absurd).

The issue is not that it does not appear to be true but as to whether a good God, knowing the flaws of DCM of which we are easily aware, would have allowed people to believe in DCM per se.  If God is good, it is not sufficient for God to merely provide purportedly good commands but a good God would want us to know his reasoning, where we could understand it but a DCM God does not such thing, which is not what a good God would do. We certainly do when we take on a moral position, provide reasons, data and arguments, even a moral subjectivist or relativist does so and God should be at least as good as us and so make a best effort to ensure that what he commands is right and present the reasoning to justify his commands where he can. Just asserting that it is good because it is in his nature or allowing DCM theists to reason so, is not the action of a good God.

One might go on to say that the Bible asserts DCM. But the most this could prove is that God is not the God of the Bible. A theist might, in a pinch, agree to that. They might agree that the Bible is a fallible document. (As all sophisticated theists do).

It is not a question God asserting DCM, but allowing or inferring this from whatever evidence theists have available to them. This is a broader condition making my argument stronger. Now I could tightened or narrowed this condition to just God asserting it but why? That would entail biblical analysis etc. which is diversionary since my more encompassing condition - promote or allow - includes such narrower theist claims cannot be refuted by biblical or equivalent quotations.

Given the flaws of DCM a good God would have done better than a DCM God has done, such as “here are the reasoning for my commands that you can understand and you can apply similar reasoning to cases which are not directly addressed by my commands and here are other commands which I find to difficult or impossible to communicate to your mortal minds but they are based on the same principles but accessing more data and analysis than you are capable of”. A DCM God does not such thing.

faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 10:58 AM

Finally if a theist accepts Euthyphro then they are accepting that god’s nature is arbitrary and capricious and cannot just declare by fiat that this nature is good.

No, they wouldn’t accept that God’s nature is arbitrary and capricious, rather that it is determined by the Good.

I already answered that in the OP noting the two standard objections DN and EMA and briefly the two standard refutations. I could add here that if God knows he is good he must be able to provide reason as know this, but as soon as he does then then the Good is independent of God (and if he cannot = provide reasons -then he does not know he is good.) Now you explore this possibility of Platonic Good in the following:

A DCM theist might counterargue that my kind of theist accepts that God is somehow less than completely sovereign, in allowing his views to be determined by something outside himself (something we might call ‘the Good’ following Plato) rather than just making it all up by divine command. But my sort of theist would rebut that claim by saying that the ethical claim (that God can’t make up morality by DC) is just the same as the logical claim that God can’t bring a contradiction into being:  It’s impossible for God to bring a contradiction into being, and it’s no knock on God’s sovereignty or omnipotence that he can’t do the impossible. (Omnipotence = ability to do all that is possible to do). Just the same, it’s impossible for God to make something not-good into something good, just by divine command. Hence it’s no knock on his sovereignty or perfection not to be able to do so.

I already said this in the OP in S2!

The point was that a theist cannot assume any of this in order to deny my P1 as it would be question begging. The essence is that a good God would do better than only enable us to know that good just by his commands, which is what DCM is and, AFAIKT this still applies to your original response (where they deny P2 but still conclude that DCM is true which still looks like a contradiction to me).

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Posted: 23 March 2011 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Actually I now think that this argument still works if we accept, for the sake of argument, that DN and EMA are not refuted.

That is, if we allow that God is good and that moral goodness is an essential moral attribute of his eternal unchanging nature and that he incapable of commanding evil, it would still not be sufficient for such a good god to allow us to think that DCM is the best moral theory. If God can give no reason to support DN and EMA then God does not know that DN and EMA are true. If God does know that DN and EMA are true then he could attempt to explain why but that would not be a DCM since it would be referring to “goodness” such as the platonic good or another moral theory. So on the one hand God does not know that DCM is true since God does not know - cannot provided justification or warrant - he is good and on the other hand God does know that he is good but then DCM must be false. Either way a good God would not permit us (well at least some theists) that DCM is true.

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Posted: 24 March 2011 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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This is a revised version of the OP in the light of criticism by Doug and elsewhere. It is not different but hopefully wil be clearer what the argument is

Divine Command Morality (DCM) is the view, held by some theists, that, meta-ethically, the best moral theory version of morality resides in God’s commands and to be a moral person it suffices to dutifully follow God’s commands. As for why this is the case such theists can differ arguing either for Divine Nature (DN) or Divine Voluntarism (DV).

DN posits that what is good is an essential part of God’s eternal unchanging nature and that God cannot command what is not in this nature. DV posits that, whilst it is in God’s nature to only do good, God could do otherwise but chooses not to - because of his all-loving nature. Either way the result is that we only know what is good and bad, right and wrong in the light of his commands.

Now the question I ask is, is this the best that God could do? If it is not, then DCM is false.

God being not only good in some plausible sense but also knowledgeable, certainly far more knowledgeable than any of us, would certainly know all the various moral theories that exist both discovered and those that have not been, know their strengths and weaknesses and know, to whatever degree of certainty is possible, what is the best moral theory meta-ethically, what is the best normative basis and what is the most relevant applicable reasoning to resolve moral questions. A good person, knowing this, would certainly want to communicate with their best efforts the results of their knowledge, even if it needs to be tailored to the limited knowledge and capabilities of those to whom such questions are important, namely the rest of us. This is certainly one important way to help create a more moral society. Well if a good person would want to do this, a good God most certainly would. This would mean that:

God would certainly be aware of the Euthyphro Dilemma showing the independence of God and morality.
H1) Now if morality is not independent of God, that is that DN is true then :
God would know that if he cannot give reasons as to why his nature is good, he does not know that it is true and no good God would mislead his followers into believing otherwise that DCM is true
H2) If, on the other hand, God accepts that morality is independent of God and then DV is true but then
God would provide the reasoning behind his commands but then this is not DCM.

So one way, not even God can know that DCM is true and on the other hand it is definitely false and God would, at least, know these facts and would communicate this to best help his followers be moral, at least a good God would.

Formally
P1: If God is good, then God would deny that Divine Command Morality (DCM) is the best basis for morality
P2: God promotes or allows his followers to be hold that DCM is the best basis for morality, that is God does not deny DCM
C: Therefore god is not good (modus tollens)

In other words a good God and DCM are incompatible. Note I am not saying that any of his commands are immoral, they need not be and would not be if God is good. Rather that a good God could not let us be misled as to the meta-ethical foundation for morality.

Whether the argument really works, that P1 is sound is still open to criticism. It is ironic, but not surprising, that to date the best criticisms I have seen have come from atheists not theists…

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Posted: 28 March 2011 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I have revised the argument again, different, simpler and stronger than the OP. It is now:

The argument has evolved since the OP, which involved God’s omnipotence as well as his omniscience, but I realize now I don’t need to involve his omnipotence. This makes the argument simpler and stronger.

The question is not as to whether God’s nature is good but the meta-question as to how God knows it is good, that is whether Divine Nature Theory (DNT) is true.

Either a)God does know or b) does not know.

If a) then God can give, at least himself, reasons as to why his nature is good. But if he can do that then DNT is false, since this refutes DNT, which states God’s nature is good solely in virtue of it being god’s nature and nothing else. This is not, at this stage, to say that God’s nature is not good, only that DNT is false.

If b) then God can provide no reasons as to why his nature is good. In support God, being omniscient, would be a greater logician than any of us and would certainly know that just asserting his nature is good commits the fallacy of question begging and is not argument in support of DNT.

So either by a) DNT is false and by b) is incapable of being shown to be true and. Either way no-one, not even God, can claim to know that DNT is true.

We can then wonder of a God who knows all this and allows, at least some, theists to labour under the mistaken view that DNT is true, either that is not the action of a good God or those theists have accept there is no objective morality only a subjective morality relative to God’s nature and cannot assert that there is an objective morality without contradiction. (However the implications explored in this paragraph can only be dealt with properly only if my argument is sound).

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Posted: 04 April 2011 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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failthlessgod:

Doug’s notes above are agreeable to me, though I feel he’s rather made the boulders in your head roll around too much. Here are a few notes of my own to add:

(1) Many religious people invoke God’s commands - ‘because He hath said’ - without thereby holding a divine command *theory*. Just so, for example, many parents invoke their right to command - ‘because I said so’ - without believing that their commands are right just because of their say-so. Only some christian denominations hold to divine command theory more or less officially - possibly those of the Reformed tradition more than average.

(2) That God (or any *proper* authority) commands some action be done can be a good reason to act, without thereby entailing command theory. Such a reason just isn’t a reason the act is *right* to do. Just so, one might do something in a laboratory (‘Add acid to water, that’s what you oughta; add water to acid, you’ll get blasted’) on the command of the lab-director, but neither you nor the director would claim that’s the reason to follow him (People wanna know: water added to concentrated strong acid generates so much heat that the mixture might boil or even splatter explosively). But many good textbooks will help you out there. Plato’s euthyphro dialogue is the earliest argument against divine command theory.

(3) I’m not understanding your argument against divine command theory. here are some standard objections to it:

Divine Command Theory: ‘A god’s commanding is the cause of right and wrong.’
Objections:
O1 Intuitively absurd: our common experience under various authorities shows us clearly that ‘commanders’ are typically confused, insecure or ignorant when they claim their commands make the act right, except in very circumscribed situations like games, the military, or rituals.
O2   To command does not entail to be obeyed. That is, the central idea of DM theory has nothing to say about a deep intuition - when i understand a moral rule, it ‘automatically’ comes as an obligation as well (The russian president commands many things, but his authority means nothing for my decision to follow his commands or not.)
O3   To command is not itself a reason why an act is moral. While the first objection involved the absurdity of believing the rightness of an act is determined by a command, this objection points out a different problem: commands often involve non-moral acts too, so DM theory fails to distinguish moral acts (‘Don’t steal’) from non-moral acts (‘Elijah, go this old woman and ask to stay there for a while’). The point of the theory was to explain *moral* rules specifically.
O4   If explanation stops at the commanding, then God Himself wd have no reason for so commanding. That is, God’s choices would have no explanation, even to Him! And our whole point in philosophy is to have good explanations.

You might find a good textbook on ethics. I recommend Joe Ellin’s Morality and the Meaning of Life. The author is not particularly religious (He’s one of my old philosophy profs smile.)

(4) Doug mentioned the Euthyphro dilemma. Typical christian theology claims that the dilemma is resolved in that *both* authority and reason are God’s attributes, indeed that He is the origin of all right command *and* reason. If christians were to go the route of Socrates in Euthyprho, or Dougsmith, then there would be a Something (the moral rules) independent and even prior to God, which is absurd (although not for pagans like Socrates for whom the traditional gods were not sources of right and wrong). The way Plato talks, I suspect that he would resolve the dilemma the same as the orthodox christian theologian (see for example his talk about the One and the Good in the Republic and other later dialogues.)

[ Edited: 04 April 2011 07:37 AM by inthegobi ]
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Posted: 06 April 2011 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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inthegobi - 04 April 2011 06:44 AM

(1) Many religious people invoke God’s commands - ‘because He hath said’ - without thereby holding a divine command *theory*. Just so, for example, many parents invoke their right to command - ‘because I said so’ - without believing that their commands are right just because of their say-so. Only some christian denominations hold to divine command theory more or less officially - possibly those of the Reformed tradition more than average.

As already stated this argument is directed at those theist who hold to Divine Nature theory and is irrelevant to others, so this is irrelevant.

(2) That God (or any *proper* authority) commands some action be done can be a good reason to act, without thereby entailing command theory. Such a reason just isn’t a reason the act is *right* to do. Just so, one might do something in a laboratory (‘Add acid to water, that’s what you oughta; add water to acid, you’ll get blasted’) on the command of the lab-director, but neither you nor the director would claim that’s the reason to follow him (People wanna know: water added to concentrated strong acid generates so much heat that the mixture might boil or even splatter explosively). But many good textbooks will help you out there. Plato’s euthyphro dialogue is the earliest argument against divine command theory.

As already stated this is not Euthyphro, so nothing relevant here.

(3) I’m not understanding your argument against divine command theory. here are some standard objections to it:

I was not arguing against divine command theory. Mine is an epistemological argument, the last version capturing it best.

Your expansion on DCM is quite irrelevant to the argument.

You might find a good textbook on ethics. I recommend Joe Ellin’s Morality and the Meaning of Life. The author is not particularly religious (He’s one of my old philosophy profs smile.)

I am well read in ethics and would wonder if this covers the core epistemplogical paradox argument, I would be very surprised if it is original but I have not come across it before, however since it is quite clear you have you don’t seem to have read this thread at all and have only contributed a trivial and pointless statement of what DCM I think it highly unlikely that such a recommendation from you will be of any use.

(4) Doug mentioned the Euthyphro dilemma. Typical christian theology claims that the dilemma is resolved in that *both* authority and reason are God’s attributes, indeed that He is the origin of all right command *and* reason. If christians were to go the route of Socrates in Euthyprho, or Dougsmith, then there would be a Something (the moral rules) independent and even prior to God, which is absurd (although not for pagans like Socrates for whom the traditional gods were not sources of right and wrong). The way Plato talks, I suspect that he would resolve the dilemma the same as the orthodox christian theologian (see for example his talk about the One and the Good in the Republic and other later dialogues.)

Oh dear, this argument is not Euthyphro!

Still to clear up some confusions:

First, I disagree,  I think Plato would have rejected the xian purported resolution as beneath consideration, Socrates was seeking an explanation of piety and showed the problem of grounding it in what the gods love. However at least there was some transparency there but the DN xian version renders it wholly opaque and mysterious - more so than any solution offered by Euthyphro to Socrates.  Have you read the dialogue?

In addition the Euthyphro still applies since “Is it good because it is in god’s eternal nature or is it in god’s eternal nature because it is good” and Divine Nature still takes the dependency horn, it is a difference that makes no difference. No doubt you disagree with that, but that is not the topic of this thread.

Finally this is not my argument here, it is the epistemic paradox over God knowing that Divine Nature is true, if God does then it is not true.

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Posted: 08 April 2011 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 09:48 AM

The basic argument is:-

P1: If God is good, then God would deny Divine Command Morality (DCM)
P2: God promotes DCM, that is God does not deny DCM
C: Therefore god is not good (modus tollens)

I will assume that P2 is not in dispute and, anyway, this argument is only aimed at those theists who do hold P2 i.e. DCM theists. Clearly if P1 is sound, then the conclusion is valid and so it is only P1 that would be disputed.

The first part is false: p2 *is* in dispute; and the Christian and jewish tradition deny it.

S1: Euthyphro Dilemma: God would certainly be aware of the Euthyphro Dilemma showing the independence of God and morality.

This is why I detailed the euthyphro dilemma and the *typical*, non-DCM solution to it: it’s just false that the euthyprho dilemma shows us that we must accept that god and morality are independent; there is a third choice.
The argument you present assumes that the only way to solve a dilemma is to ‘grasp one of the horns’ of the dilemma; but it’s a perfectly logical choice to attempt to ‘run between the horns’. Remember: the reason philosophers still call it a *dilemma* is that *both* of the choices (acts are just b/c the gods love it, or the gods love acts b/c they are just) have massive problems. Only Plato and Socrates seem pleased to take the route that justice is wholly separate from the gods.

What is ‘Divine Nature Theory’ btw? I’ve not heard that particular phrase used.

With respect to your long study, it seems unlikely that you have found a brand-new argument for a 2400 year old topic. Not impossible, but . . . .

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Posted: 11 April 2011 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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inthegobi - 08 April 2011 11:40 AM
faithlessgod - 23 March 2011 09:48 AM

The basic argument is:-

P1: If God is good, then God would deny Divine Command Morality (DCM)
P2: God promotes DCM, that is God does not deny DCM
C: Therefore god is not good (modus tollens)

I will assume that P2 is not in dispute and, anyway, this argument is only aimed at those theists who do hold P2 i.e. DCM theists. Clearly if P1 is sound, then the conclusion is valid and so it is only P1 that would be disputed.

The first part is false: p2 *is* in dispute; and the Christian and jewish tradition deny it.

As noted in the OP the discussion has moved on from there.

This is why I detailed the euthyphro dilemma and the *typical*, non-DCM solution to it: it’s just false that the euthyprho dilemma shows us that we must accept that god and morality are independent; there is a third choice.
The argument you present assumes that the only way to solve a dilemma is to ‘grasp one of the horns’ of the dilemma; but it’s a perfectly logical choice to attempt to ‘run between the horns’. Remember: the reason philosophers still call it a *dilemma* is that *both* of the choices (acts are just b/c the gods love it, or the gods love acts b/c they are just) have massive problems. Only Plato and Socrates seem pleased to take the route that justice is wholly separate from the gods.

Read again, this argument is about God’s knowledge and logical limitations on it.
My argument assumes that the Divine Nature response (leaving it moot as to whether it resolves the dilemma which it does not), it is just that another dilemma arises, as fatal as the first, in the conjunction between God’s knowledge and God’s goodness.

I dont expect my argument to be original and would be very surprised if it is. I just have not seen it made, compared to the EMA and failed resolution to the Euthyphro Dilemma critiques which I have long noted here.

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Posted: 11 April 2011 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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faithlessgod - 11 April 2011 05:27 AM

Read again, this argument is about God’s knowledge and logical limitations on it.
My argument assumes that the Divine Nature response (leaving it moot as to whether it resolves the dilemma which it does not), it is just that another dilemma arises, as fatal as the first, in the conjunction between God’s knowledge and God’s goodness.

I dont expect my argument to be original and would be very surprised if it is. I just have not seen it made, compared to the EMA and failed resolution to the Euthyphro Dilemma critiques which I have long noted here.

Yes, *another* dilemma is a good way to put it. that dilemma - the dilemma you’re asserting - is not the Euthyphro dilemma; but it’s not even *like* the Euthyphro dilemma, it’s a different kind of dilemma entirely. It’s a dilemma that would arise even if there were no Euthyphro dilemma. This dilemma already has names: the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, the problem of injustice. This is dealt with (successfully or not!) by the part of theology called theodicy.

The Euthyphro dilemma involved a paradox about the relationship between two universals, a class of norms and the Divine stance. Your dilemma - whether or not it’s identical to the problem of unjust suffering - involves two individuals, a God and each of His creatures (no matter how many are involved). If I may make so bold, I *think* you aren’t stopping at the right place when you try to argue about contradictions in God’s knowledge - ultimately the problem you mention isn’t theoretical but practical, and practices are essentially individual.

A last point. *Maybe* positing that God’s nature is the origin of both right reason and right morals has problems of its own;l nevertheless, those problems will *not* be Euthyphro-dilemma-type problems at all, because this position is, formally speaking, a denial that there is a ‘dilemma’ at all: to choose to “escape between the horns” of a dilemma is to claim that the dilemma is based on a false dichotomy.

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Posted: 12 April 2011 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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inthegobi - 11 April 2011 07:01 AM
faithlessgod - 11 April 2011 05:27 AM

Read again, this argument is about God’s knowledge and logical limitations on it.
My argument assumes that the Divine Nature response (leaving it moot as to whether it resolves the dilemma which it does not), it is just that another dilemma arises, as fatal as the first, in the conjunction between God’s knowledge and God’s goodness.

I dont expect my argument to be original and would be very surprised if it is. I just have not seen it made, compared to the EMA and failed resolution to the Euthyphro Dilemma critiques which I have long noted here.

Yes, *another* dilemma is a good way to put it. that dilemma - the dilemma you’re asserting - is not the Euthyphro dilemma; but it’s not even *like* the Euthyphro dilemma, it’s a different kind of dilemma entirely. It’s a dilemma that would arise even if there were no Euthyphro dilemma. This dilemma already has names: the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, the problem of injustice. This is dealt with (successfully or not!) by the part of theology called theodicy.

The Euthyphro dilemma involved a paradox about the relationship between two universals, a class of norms and the Divine stance. Your dilemma - whether or not it’s identical to the problem of unjust suffering - involves two individuals, a God and each of His creatures (no matter how many are involved). If I may make so bold, I *think* you aren’t stopping at the right place when you try to argue about contradictions in God’s knowledge - ultimately the problem you mention isn’t theoretical but practical, and practices are essentially individual.

A last point. *Maybe* positing that God’s nature is the origin of both right reason and right morals has problems of its own;l nevertheless, those problems will *not* be Euthyphro-dilemma-type problems at all, because this position is, formally speaking, a denial that there is a ‘dilemma’ at all: to choose to “escape between the horns” of a dilemma is to claim that the dilemma is based on a false dichotomy.

Your answer completely fails to address the argument at hand and it is nothing to do the the problem of evil etc. You may disagree that my argument works but in order to do that I suggest you take a course in reading comprehension and when done, come back and, then you can, hopefully, at least comprehend the argument, and then, maybe, you might be be able to offer some valid criticism of it.

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Posted: 26 July 2011 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Starting with Aquinas, supernaturalists beg the question of his being good by nature. Granted that, does He make for that nature or is it inherent: the dilemma remains! Supernaturalists go from error to error: faith doth that to people!

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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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