Cohen Hall, Room 402
Three Euthyphro Problems
The so-called Euthyphro Problem raises the following question: do the gods love the pious because it is pious, or is the pious pious because it is loved by the gods? The traditional reading draws on Divine Command Theory: does God recognize value, or is value created by divine approval? A contemporary version rephrases the problem along similar lines: is value attitude-independent or is it conferred by attitudes? I argue that these approaches obscure the dialogue’s argument by reformulating “the” Euthyphro Problem as if all value had the same metaphysics. According to the Euthyphro, however, there are three kinds of value, exemplified by the good, the god-loved, and the pious. Among these values, the good has priority. This comes into view once we see that there is not one Euthyphro Problem, but three. The Bad Gods Problem asks how the gods can be normative guides, given that they fight and disagree with each other. The Epistemic Euthyphro Problem seeks a measure for the good. The Metaphysical Euthyphro Problem, as I call “the” Euthyphro Problem, raises the question of whether a property can at the same time be realist and constitutively involve relational attitudes. On this reconstruction, the Euthyphro is the urtext of metaethics, in ways that go far beyond its common reception.