Euthyphro and Relativism Essays

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Question Description

Please write essays on selected topics - The Euthyphro and Relativism.

* PLEASE NOTE: Do not quote anything from the readings or ppt (WORKS CITED PAGE IS NOT NEEDED)*

Answer all of A-D for essays-

1. The Euthyphro

A) Explain the "Euthyphro Dilemma".

B) Demonstrate how this dilemma applies to contemporary questions about Theism and Morality

C) Demonstrate how this dilemma applies to contemporary questions regarding the relationship of humanity and morality.

D) What's your take on the dilemma? Is morality a product of approval or is it objective?

2. Relativism

A) Explain as best as you can what SER is. Use examples to help show that you understand the concepts.

B) Explain as best as you can what CER is. Use examples to help show that you understand the concepts.

C) Analyze some of the problems with both forms of relativism.

D) what is your take on these forms of relativism? Do you find relativism plausible? If so, explain why? If not, explain your reasons?

**I have attached necessary readings and powerpoints from lectures.**

Euthyphro Text link- http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/euthyfro.html

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Euthyphro and Socrates discuss Piety or Holiness Euthyphro and Socrates discuss Piety or Holiness or Euthyphro and Socrates discuss Piety or Holiness or Defining moral properties in relation to divine attitudes: An analysis Setting the Stage: Why is Euthyphro at court? Serving as Prosecutor Bringing Charges of Negligent Homicide Saturday Night on Naxos An island renowned for its wine production. Saturday Night on Naxos An island renowned for its wine production. Estates are large, and vineyards are profitable. They require a large amount of hands in order for the operations to function. It’s hard work in the Greek sun. Very hard work. At the end of the week the work force (primarily slaves) has time off, and likes to blow off steam. How do you suppose they do this? Hint Number ONE.. Boozing it up, of course. Which invariably lead to problems with… Likes-ToFight-Guy Likes to fight guy becomes belligerent when he drinks, and picks fights because.. well, he is likes-to-fightguy.. This, unsurprisingly, had been an ongoing problem on this estate. Not knowing what exactly to do, the master of the estate tied up Likes-To-Fight-Guy and threw him into an irrigation ditch while he sent someone to Athens asking for advice. This trip took several days. No food, no water, and exposure to swings in temperature. Cold nights, hot days.. Even as tough a guy as Likes-To-Fight-Guy isn’t going to last long in that situation. He eventually died before the courier could return from Athens with the advice. Euthyphro is pressing charges of Negligent Homicide against the Master of the Estate. The Master should have known to provide the unruly slave with food and drink. So, Who is this estate master that you are pressing charges against? Oh. Sorry I didn’t say earlier, but… He’s my dad. Pops Socrates Euthyphro Socrates is not at all sure that Euthyphro is doing the right thing, or that his prosecution of pops is “pious.” After all, this is Euthyphro’s dad we are talking about. Might the Gods consider this undertaking unholy? •Euthyphro is confident •He claims to know what piety or holiness is •Just underneath the surface this is a discussion of moral good •So, what is the pious or the good? Define it. •Prosecuting wrongdoers? •Not general enough. other things are pious or good that have nothing to do with prosecuting wrongdoers. •Need the common element all good, pious or holy things have •A definition! •Example: Define shape. It’s what triangles, circles etc., all have in common. Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are •loved by •dear to •approved by •THE GODS This has some logical corollaries: The bad, or impious things are those things..? The things that are neither good nor bad are those things..? Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are •loved by •dear to •approved by •THE GODS This has some logical corollaries: The bad, or impious things are those things.. •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.. • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are This has some logical corollaries: •loved by The bad, or impious things are those things.? •dear to •approved by •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.? •THE GODS • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes Socrates examines logical consequences of this definition. He notes that Euthyphro’s situation parallels one in the divine realm that was very common knowledge in Greece. Euthyphro would have been very familiar with this tale from Greek mythology: The story of Zeus and Father of the Year: Cronos Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are This has some logical corollaries: •loved by The bad, or impious things are those things.? •dear to •approved by •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.? •THE GODS • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes Cronos was King. It’s good to be king. So, naturally he was jealous of his power, and wished to retain it. However, he found out via prophecy, that one of his kids would overthrow him. So, he made contingency plans: The story of Zeus and Father of the Year: Cronos Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are This has some logical corollaries: •loved by The bad, or impious things are those things.? •dear to •approved by •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.? •THE GODS • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes Cronos made his wife (Rhea) promise to turn over each of his children as they were born. She dutifully turned over Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. Cronos ate them. Now, you can’t kill Gods, but you can apparently confine them in this way ! The story of Zeus and Father of the Year: Cronos Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are This has some logical corollaries: •loved by The bad, or impious things are those things.? •dear to •approved by •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.? •THE GODS • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes But, by the time Zeus was conceived, Rhea had simply had enough. She wrapped an appropriately sized stone in swaddling clothes and turned it over to Cronos. Trusting her, he popped the stone, wrapping and all, like an oversized tic-tac. The story of Zeus and Father of the Year: Cronos Euthyphro’s definition of moral good: •The Good, Pious or Holy things are those things which are This has some logical corollaries: •loved by The bad, or impious things are those things.? •dear to •approved by •that are hated by, repulsive to, or disapproved by THE GODS The things that are neither good nor bad are those things.? •THE GODS • toward which THE GODS have none of the above attitudes She sent Zeus to Crete. Zeus grew up, learned of his father’s less than stellar behavior, enlisted help from the Titans, overthrew Cronos and took over the kingship as prophesied. [Later, he would essentially repeat the crimes of his dad. Some kids never learn.] The story of Zeus and Father of the Year: Cronos Now, if divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? I’ll prosecute dad for wrongdoing! Love It! Hate it! If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? Applying the definition we have: •One god loves Euthyphro’s actions •One god hates Euthyphro’s actions •By the definition what he is doing is.. Both morally good and morally bad at the exact same time! Is this how we normally think of things? For instance: Can the act of rescuing a helpless infant be anything other than morally good? Is it possible for it to be bad? If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? If we believe it’s not possible for acts to be both morally good and morally bad at the exact same time, we need to make some modifications to the definition! Perhaps Euthyphro meant to say that all the Gods must approve or disapprove in order for an act to be morally good or morally bad. Well, OF COURSE that’s what I meant. All the Gods approve of me prosecuting dear old Dad. Of that I am certain! If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? Interesting solution, for if Socrates is right about these two Gods: •We do not have all the Gods approving. •We do not have all the Gods disapproving •Logically, what follows? The act must be neither good nor bad. You know that the Gods are constantly bickering and disagreeing about things like bringing family members to justice, so these things are neither right nor wrong. If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? •Euthyphro insists though, that all the Gods DO agree on this matter, despite Socrates’ skepticism. •Assume he is correct. •If all the Gods concur in their approval, then what he is doing is morally right. If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? And, if there is only one God whose attitudes we have to worry about, that too would seem to solve the problem If he approves, the thing is good. If he disapproves, it is bad. Couldn’t be simpler. If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? With either of these solutions, we still have nagging questions: Couldn’t the multitude of Gods have failed to concur? Couldn’t the one God have had a different attitude toward the act in question? What logically follows? Including rescuing innocent babies from harm! •If so, then even when an act is, as a matter of fact good, it COULD HAVE BEEN bad (and vice versa). • IT COULD HAVE BEEN neither good nor bad. •All of this holds even though nothing about the act, and its circumstances would have been different. •And this would be so, for every act. Euthyphro Dilemma 1 • Is an action good because God approves of it? • Or • Does God approve of an action because it is good? If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? •In given circumstances an act is necessarily good, bad or morally neutral, and cannot be one of the other two options UNLESS the circumstances change. Rescuing innocent babies from harm could have been bad, even though it is good?! Does that sound correct? This points out a feature we believe acts have with regard to their moral status: •This is a sort of “modal status” for moral properties. Like a square necessarily having four sides, rescuing innocent babies from harm is necessarily good. If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? In order to account for this modal invariance, we would have to claim that divine attitudes never change, and could not have been different even in the past. How to make that account? What do you say? If divine attitude is necessary and sufficient for having moral properties, then what can we deduce when divine attitudes differ? If you were to explain why it is God approves of rescuing innocent babies from harm, how would you start? If you were to explain why it is God would never disapprove of rescuing innocent babies from harm, how would you start? In answering these questions, we give an account, a reason, for the divine attitudes, and begin to move into the realm of ethics, a reasoned exploration of moral matters. Ethical Relativism Similar to Divine Command Theory •Answer to fundamental question: What is the right-making or wrong-making characteristic of people or acts? •The answer according to DCT? Ethical Relativism One way to put it: An act or personality trait is morally good iff (if and only if) God approves the act or trait. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad iff God disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad iff God neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait. Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good iff (if and only if) God approves the act or trait. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad iff God disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad iff God neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait. This is one example of a ‘family’ of theories we can call “approval” theories. Sometimes they are called “conventionalist” theories. In Discussing the Platonic dialogue Euthyphro, we have already run into two members of this larger family. We can place these members in a four-celled matrix.. Reference Class of entities (Those whose attitudes count!) Humans Subjective Ethical Relativism (SER) Cultural Ethical Relativism (CER) “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Gods Monotheistic Divine Command Theory X = 1 (MDCT) Polytheistic Divine Command Theory (PDCT) X > 1 Number of said entities that count “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good iff (ifand only if) God approves the act or trait. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad iff God disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad iff God neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait. In Discussing DCT, we noted some logical consequences, that will have parallels in the other two cells of the matrix. SER CER MDCT PDCT “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good iff (if and only if) God approves the act or trait. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad iff God disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad iff God neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait, OR if it is the case that there is at least one God that approves, and one that disapproves. In Discussing DCT, we noted some logical consequences, that will have parallels in the other two cells of the matrix. MDCT Under PDCT, if an act is approved or commanded by one God, and disapproved or forbidden by another it is either: Both morally good and bad, Or, PDCT Neither morally good nor bad, which led us to revise the last corollary (if you all remember that day!): “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good iff (if and only if) God approves the act or trait. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad iff God disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad iff God neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait, OR if it is the case that there is at least on God that approves, and one that disapproves. In Discussing DCT, we noted some logical consequences, that will have parallels in the other two cells of the matrix. SER MDCT Under MDCT, if an act is approved or commanded by the one God, and then at a later time, disapproved or forbidden: The act is morally good at time (t1) and bad at time (t2), CER PDCT If the one God would have had a different attitude, then the act would have had a contrary moral property, or an opposed moral property. “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) I approve it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff I disapprove the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff I neither approve nor disapprove the act or trait. Today, we look at the other two cells of this chart. Under SER the definition and corollaries run: SER CER Now, the question is raised: Why would this position be considered plausible? What factors of day-to-day moral life would make us think that what is right or wrong for us as individuals really hinges upon what we feel is right or wrong for us? “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) I approve it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff I disapprove the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff I neither approve nor disapprove the act or trait. There are often stubbornly resistant disagreements in moral matters. Some examples? Abortion, Enhanced Interrogation, Stem Cell Research SER CER People do often ‘agree to disagree.’ They do often say things like: ‘what’s right for your is right for you, but that doesn’t make it right for me.’ So, SER, if adopted, would seem to allow room for tolerance. But, there are logical consequences of SER: “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) I approve it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff I disapprove the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff I neither approve nor disapprove the act or trait. Consider these questions, putting on your SER hat: SER CER When people have an ethical disagreement, whose position is the correct position? Who is in error? How are ethical disagreements different from matters of taste (for instance, food, art, music, favorite color, etc.)? Can anyone ever be in error morally, on this view? “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) I approve it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff I disapprove the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff I neither approve nor disapprove the act or trait. Consider these questions, putting on your SER hat: SER CER When people have an ethical disagreement, whose position is the correct position? Who is in error? No one. How are ethical disagreements different from matters of taste (for instance, food, art, music, favorite color, etc.)? There is no difference. Can anyone ever be in error morally, on this view? No. by definition. “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) my culture approves it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff my culture disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff my culture neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait. These logical consequence of SER might lead one to the second cell on the left, CER. How might Cultural Ethical Relativism answer these same questions? SER CER When people have an ethical disagreement, whose position is the correct position? Who is in error? How are ethical disagreements different from matters of taste (for instance, food, art, music, favorite color, etc.)? Can anyone ever be in error morally, on this view? “Approval” or “Conventionalist” Theories of Ethical Properties Ethical Relativism An act or personality trait is morally good for me iff (if and only if) my culture approves it. Corollaries: An act or personality trait is morally bad for me iff my culture disapproves the act or trait An act or personality trait is neither morally good nor bad for me, iff my culture neither approves nor disapproves the act or trait. When people have an ethical disagreement, whose position is t ...
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