EUTHYPHRO & DIVINE COMMAND THEORY

EUTHYPHRO & DIVINE COMMAND THEORY - PLATO’S EUTHYPHRO &...

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PLATO’S EUTHYPHRO Two documents: 1. Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro (we’ll focus only on the first half of this dialogue) 2. My LECTURE NOTES re the “Divine Command Theory,” which is closely associated with Plato’s dialogue Here we have one of Plato’s early dialogues; it dramatizes Socrates’ conversation with Euthyphro just prior to the philosopher’s trial; later, Socrates is condemned to die. Essentially, Socrates is accused of impiety ; as it happens, Euthyphro claims to be an expert on the subject. Thus—with much irony—Socrates seeks Euthyphro’s advice concerning the nature of piety and impiety. Euthyphro eventually offers a definition of piety according to which “being pious” is simply a matter of doing what pleases the gods . (The Ancient Greeks were polytheists.) Essentially, Socrates notes that, if one is to take that position concerning the essential nature of piety, one cannot, at the same time, maintain that the gods approve of pious actions for a good reason . If the gods’ liking an action makes it pious, then it makes no sense to say that the gods like that action for a good reason—namely, because it is pious. That would be to talk in circles. (If the gods’ like X for a good reason, then what is the point of saying that X is pious—or right—“because the gods like X”? Why not refer to the gods’ reason ?) All of this has implications for any view that defines something—e.g., rightness—in terms of what the gods (or a God) likes or wills. –RB i·ro·ny noun 1. a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect… 2. a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain). b. An occurrence, a result, or a circumstance notable for such incongruity. Usage Note: The words ironic, irony, and ironically are sometimes used of events and circumstances that might better be described as simply “coincidental” or “improbable,” in that they suggest no particular lessons about human vanity or folly. Thus 78 percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of ironically in the sentence In 1969 Susie moved from Ithaca to California where she met her husband-to-be, who, ironically, also came from upstate New York (though some Panelists noted that this particular usage might be acceptable if Susie had in fact moved to California in order to find a husband, in which case the story could be taken as exemplifying the folly of supposing that we can know what fate has in store for us). By contrast, 73 percent accepted the sentence Ironically, even as the government was fulminating against American policy, American jeans and videocassettes were the hottest items in the stalls of the market,
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course PHILOSOPHY 3 taught by Professor Bauer during the Spring '08 term at Irvine Valley College.

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EUTHYPHRO & DIVINE COMMAND THEORY - PLATO’S EUTHYPHRO &...

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