Friday, February 16, 2007

Vox Day confronts the Euthyphro Dilemma.

The Euthyphro Dilemma was described by Plato in his dialogue Euthyphro and is posed as a question asked of Euthyphro by Socrates: "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" The nature of the dilemma is that one would presumably wish both assertions to be true, even though this would seem to lead to a circular definition of "the pious".

So how does WorldNetDaily columnist Vox Day tackle the dilemma? His argument is to switch from piety to obedience (author's overcapitalization):
Here the Christian must immediately disagree, at least within the context of the modern meaning of the term piety. (We'll get to Euthyphro and Socrates agreed-upon definition soon enough.) In this context, the Bible is clear on OBEDIENCE being God's priority, not piety, as there are several examples of pious sacrifices to God being rejected due to their being rooted in disobedience one way or another.
The meaning of this paragraph depends to a certain extent upon what the author intends by God rejecting a pious sacrifice. First, observe that, despite the stress upon obedience to God, Vox Day asserts that a pious sacrifice is still possible (which, by definition, must be an example of "the pious"). If we suppose that God does not love at least one case of a pious sacrifice that is rooted in disobedience, then we have done nothing more than assert the negation of the dilemma (in the sense that one or both of its propositions would therefore be false). And if we suppose that God does love every pious sacrifice even if He decides to reject them on the grounds of disobedience, then we have simply evaded the dilemma without having resolved it. Alternatively, we could suppose that God simply loves "the obedient", but this is simply to say that only obedience is pious for God as described by Christianity.

Now whether one cares about obedience to God or not, one has always been free either to ignore the dilemma altogether ("So, how about those Red Sox?"), to assert the negation of the dilemma, or to restate the dilemma without further argument. Thus, regardless of which interpretation we choose, Vox Day's argument that "God's priority is obedience, not piety" gives us no way of resolving the Euthyphro Dillemma that we didn't have available already.


Blogger Paul said...

Hello. I just thought you might like to read this article:
"A Christian Answer to the Euthyphro Dilemma" (link).

10:15 AM  

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