Wednesday September 23, 2009
It is often believed that religion and morality are intimately connected, morality would collapse
One basis for this view is that we can only be motivated to act rightly if we know that it will
reward is in the long run, in our afterlife. If our motive to act right is just to get our own pleasure,
then we shouldn’t be rewarded.
A more common view is that morality is based on religion because it is based on God’s
commands.God lays down the moral code. Ex. 10 commandments, often think of morality as a
matter of commands, do this and don’t do that, have to be coming from an extraordinary person
The Divine Command Theory-another challenge to morality.
Something being right, and something being commanded by God are the same thing. Involves a
tendency to give more weight to texts than our own thought.
-it is another challenge to a contemporary idea of morality, where moral judgments are arrived
at by our own reflection
-we should look in a holy book to see what morality is
Religious texts need to be interpreted, there is also a difference between different religiously
based views of ethics.
Euthyphro-contains the most famous argument against the Divine Command Theory 173-174
-an early dialogue of Plato, Socrates is the main character
-supposed to be based on the views of the real Socrates, runs into Euthyphro who is going to
the court to prosecute his father because he tied up a servant and left him to die in a ditch, he
did so because the servant killed a slave
Euthyphro believes that the right thing to do is to prosecute his father. He is in a situation where
it is hard to know what to do, on the one hand you should honor your father and shouldn’t harm
him, there is also a demand that the law should be impartial.
-Euthyphro believes that his view is right. He believes it to be pious (equaivalent to what is
Socrates asks Euthyphro, what is it for an act to be pious? Need a definition of piety.
Euthyphro says that pious acts are that which are loved by the Gods. (similar to the Divine
Command Theory, what the gods approve of) Implies that if there is no God then there is no
Socrates 2 arguments against: 1)170-173-you say that the pious is what loves to the Gods. There are a lot of Gods that
disagree. What do you do when some Gods love what Euthyphro is doing and some dislike it.
Within the bible