Piety, Philosophical Problems

Essay by tshmongisCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

Downloaded 39 times

"Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"(Euthyphro, 10a) Socrates asks Euthyphro this question trying to find out whether or not Euthyphro possesses the meaning of piety. Through the Socratic method, Socrates attempts to show the difference between divine command theory and independent morals.

The first part of Socrates question to Euthyphro, "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious," illustrates the theory of independent morals. (Euthyphro, 10a) The theory of independent morals states that items, actions, and people are good prior to, and independently of, gods commanding them. Gods command is a reaction to the goodness of something. All this means is that something is not pious in result of the gods making it pious, but because its actions are pious leading to the gods reacting in a positive way towards that object or person.

Gods will then makes actions good only if god has no standards or reasons for willing what he or she does. Ones upbringing and morals taught to them and developed throughout their life will lead to the way they act which then leads to whether or not the gods believe ones actions are pious or not. Independent morals are accepted and taught to one in different ways. So then how does one know if their morals are the ones accepted by the gods?

Socrates also asks Euthyphro if something is pious because the gods love it. This illustrates the meaning of divine command theory. This means that God's command is what makes something good. The goodness of something is a result of God's commanding that thing. God decides what objects or what people are going to be pious. Divine command theory states that...