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Please write essays on selected topics – The Euthyphro and Relativism.* PLEASE NOTE: Do not quote anything from the readings or ppt (WORKS CITED PAGE IS NOT NEEDED)*Answer all of A-D for essays-1.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 EuthyphroA) Explain the “Euthyphro Dilemma”.B) Demonstrate how this dilemma applies to contemporary questions about Theism and MoralityC) 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. RelativismA) 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
euthyphro.ppt

ethical_relativism.ppt

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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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