Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Euthephro Dilemma and the Cloak of Objectivity

Jason Thibodeau, writes an article on Secular Outpost [1] they are discussing the Euthephro dilemma (ED) and a remark is made:

dcleve: 
"Basically, there appears to be no valid answer for a theist for the ED. Either morality pre-exists God (and therefore a God can be morally evaluated), or God created morality (and God cannot be evalauted morally)."

Prior to this point I had began discussion by saying that my solution to the ED solves the issue if the  dilemma because it asserts that morality is based upon God';s character which is love. So the standard God uses for his moral commands is not independent of himself,

Joe Hinman to dcleve • 12 days ago
My point was that love is not independent of God it exits as God's character, that is it;s origin it has no existence before God because there is no before God. God is eternal with no beginning,and love is God's eternal character. We can love only because God made us with the capacity to draw upon his character.

That solves the dilemma because there is no dilemma, Love is not a standard independent of God. That is the entire force of the ED that it leaves God subject to either arbitrary whim or in service to a standard higher then himself but in fact it's not arbitrary but is based upon God's feelings that are connected to his character and it's not higher than himself because it is himself.

 But dcleve had made a statement I never got back to  and thus assumes that it beat my argument:

dcleve:
You are not addressing arbitrariness. Why "love"? Why not "greed"? And how is "love" defined -- what set the boundaries of what is/isn't love?
The "its just what God is" leaves you open to the arbitrariness of a God who could want to torture babies, and then define love as torturing babies, and then you would be telling me that torturing babies is loving. You have abandoned any standard
Joe
Does being who you are leave you open to the charge of being arbitrary? is being who you are a rational choice that you thought about? To put it in more philosophical sounding parlance we could say it's an existentialist reality. Now of course you could ask why God based moral choice on his character but the answer is obviously if love is God's character than the answer is obvious, He chose his character as the model because He loves. He wont say torturing babies is moral because that's not loving.
I then referenced my post on the Arbitrariness issue. [2]

Of course they say no more about it, my idea has just been beaten because they gave the proper atheist response no need to think about what I actually said. Now at this point Thibodeau makes a statement that seems to change the subject  to that of objective morality but I think  it's very telling as to why they don't see how the ED has been destroyed.

Jason Thibodeau Mod  dcleve • 12 days ago
I think that morality is objective. Morality has to do with practical reasons, i.e., our reasons for actions, desires, and feelings. A reason is a factor that counts in favor of an intentional state (a belief, desire, action, feelings, attitude). It is an objective fact whether a factor counts in favor. It is also an objective fact that some reasons are stronger than others. Morality concerns the reasons that we have for or against actions that affect the welfare of sentient beings and persons and desires (and other attitudes) that concern the welfare of sentient beings and persons.
There is nothing obscure or metaphysically odd about any of this. Sentient beings are bearers of conscious states. (Some) conscious states have intrinsic moral value. The nature of some conscious states give us reason to either desire that they occur and try to bring them about or desire that they not occur and try to prevent their occurrence. The nature of persons give us reasons to respect their capacity to make informed decisions about what to believe and how to live. We can know all of these things because we our sentient persons and thus experience the conscious states that have moral value and are directly aware of the value of autonomy.The best response for a theist to take to the ED is to agree that morality is independent of God. I don't think that there is anything essential to theistic belief that prevents this.

Joe Hinman  Jason Thibodeau • 28 minutes ago
I disagree that morality is subjective. Moral philosophy is objective, meta ethics is objective, but morality is not. Morality is felt, believed and lived. It's existential meaning it is part of our make up,the way we are. The study of that phenomenon is objective but not the thing itself. I think their assertion that morality is objective is the reason why they can't the dilemma is beaten.

It is what phenomenologists call the "cloak of objectivity." They are hiding behind intersubjective assertions and using that as a  means of control so they can manage what God might demand of them. This is why they can't accept moral motions as inborn or as stemming from God's character, They want to see them as prudential measures they can out argue away. Even though he denies it he leaves morality as unexplained (according to statements above) he wants to just accept it as what is uncritically but leaves logic as the evaluative aspect that can make or break a moral axiom. That doesn't even address the basic issues of the moral argument hat we find it compelling and that our moral motions demand our alliance.  The statement that "The best response for a theist to take to the ED is to agree that morality is independent of God. I don't think that there is anything essential to theistic belief that prevents this..." is a ridiculous suggestion that really means give into one side of the dilemma that would render insignificant and meaningless any divine precept. There just might be this little God thing that really exists complicating that idea.



[1] Jason Thibodeau, "Thibodeau on The Real Atheology Podcast," The Secular Outpost blog, Comment section(AUGUST 21, 2018 )

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2018/08/21/thibodeau-on-the-real-atheology-podcast/#disqus_thread


[2] Joseph Hinman, "The Euthyphro dilemma and the arbitrariness objection’: Answering Wes Morriston." Metacrock's bog (Feb 29, 2016)
http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-euthyphro-dilemma-and-arbitrariness.html




51 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

Suppose someone says that God is the standard of goodness because his character is good.
What makes God's character is good, rather than bad?
Because God's character is love.
Yes, but why is love good?
Because it's God's character.
I think its the circularity here that's the problem.

Now maybe you can avoid this in a number of ways. Suppose I incline toward a broadly Benthamian analysis of 'good' that roughly takes 'good' as 'conducive to producing the pleasant.'
Now you ask, why is the pleasant good?
I respond that we are biologically and evolutionarily disposed to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
You ask why that is good.
At this point the only answer it seems is open to me is that that's just the way we're constituted.

But you can run a similar response re. God's character, where you end up saying that being loving is just the way God is constituted. We've both come to grounding morality in a kind of dispositional brute fact; you in God's constitution, and me in human constitution. The question at this point, I think, becomes one of why one should prefer one type of grounding to another.

Joe Hinman said...

Eric Sotnak said...
Suppose someone says that God is the standard of goodness because his character is good.
What makes God's character is good, rather than bad?
Because God's character is love.
Yes, but why is love good?
Because it's God's character.
I think its the circularity here that's the problem.

The circularity is set up by you by the way you put the question which is just an echo of the ED.It solicits the circularity the ED set up.

try this:the standard of morality is to be like God and we call that "good."

Now maybe you can avoid this in a number of ways. Suppose I incline toward a broadly Benthamian analysis of 'good' that roughly takes 'good' as 'conducive to producing the pleasant.'
Now you ask, why is the pleasant good?
I respond that we are biologically and evolutionarily disposed to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
You ask why that is good.
At this point the only answer it seems is open to me is that that's just the way we're constituted.

But you can run a similar response re. God's character, where you end up saying that being loving is just the way God is constituted. We've both come to grounding morality in a kind of dispositional brute fact; you in God's constitution, and me in human constitution. The question at this point, I think, becomes one of why one should prefer one type of grounding to another.


all of it is avoided if we stop trying to hold out good as a separate standard that God has to justify and realize the nature of the good is Gods's character, good is a wowrd thought up to describe a way to be which is like God.

Joe Hinman said...


I am not suggesting that the words good and God are literally related etymologically. Socrates did the ED in Greek and probably said "axios." I have not read that in so long I can't remember.

But still I think if you set it up with the idea that God hands down a standard based upon his feelings of love then there's no circle, no arbitrary. As I indicated in my essay the real problem is the way analytical philosophy tries to engineer truth though,logic. it's divorced from the moral motions that gave rise to moral thinking and becomes a chess game.

That does not mean that I think there is no place for logic in meta ethical theory, of course there is.

7th Stooge said...

I agree with Erik that there has to be a standard of goodness that's logically distinct from God. God's character may conform to this standard, but that fact doesn't mean that God's character is what people refer to when they talk about the good.

Joe Hinman said...

It's a mistake to think that what people mean by the term has anything to do within. The average person has no idea what meta ethnics is or what logical inferences that proceed ethical action ,most of them can't tell a teleology from gerontology duty but they manage to act ethically to some extent.


The UD assumes God exists and that God sets a universal ethical standard that some how is handed down,to us all.

7th Stooge said...

I should have said "what is actually meant by "the good"". God still has to decide on the most loving action or outcome in every situation, which means he would have to have some standard by which which to choose, some standard independent of his feelngs of love. How can God set that standard if they are already part of his character? He did not/ does not set his character.

Joe Hinman said...

why does he have to make such a standard? He gives us very sparse ideas, do not steal do not kill. Then we complicate it with specifics and moral philosophy. He really leaves the details up to us,I assume he gave us an ability to care,to understand.

Why would his standard have to be independent of his character?

Mike Gerow said...

Blogger 7th Stooge said...
I should have said "what is actually meant by "the good"". God still has to decide on the most loving action or outcome in every situation, which means he would have to have some standard by which which to choose, some standard independent of his feelngs of love. How can God set that standard if they are already part of his character? He did not/ does not set his character.


In every situation? What if, in some cases anyway, the standard is simple, free, existential choice?


Does there have to be a complete moral calculus that covers every situation?

Joe Hinman said...

Good way to put it,I think I said no, i think love covers that need.

Eric Sotnak said...

7th Stooge said: "I agree with Erik that there has to be a standard of goodness that's logically distinct from God."

Actually, that's not the position I was suggesting.

Rather, I'm suggesting that it is perfectly possible to say, "by 'good' I mean things like THIS ..." and then point out something that serves as a paradigm instance. There's nothing to prevent Joe from pointing to God's loving character as the paradigm.
But there's also nothing to prevent me from pointing out certain pleasurable experiences, or cases of desire fulfillment, or even a broad range of such things. And both will have more or less plausibility insofar as the paradigm given fits the standard uses of the word 'good.'

Both count, I think, as instances of moral realism, insofar as the paradigms identified are really there. So, for instance, if someone complains (as some theists have done) that moral naturalism cannot account for objective morality but must, instead be subjectivists, the reply is that that being poked in the eye with a sharp stick is objectively painful - it isn't just your opinion or arbitrary whim that it is painful.

In short, I agree that it is possible to ground goodness in God's character in a way that avoids the Euthyphro dilemma. But it is not necessary to ground goodness in God's character: one can ground goodness elsewhere, just as easily.

The question is which type of grounding one is going to find most plausible.

Proponents of Divine Command Theory, to whom the Euthyphro Dilemma is primarily directed, often try to distinguish between the question of the meaning or etymology of the word 'good' and the question of foundation. I'm suggesting that this distinction may be harder to make than one might think.

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger Eric Sotnak said...
7th Stooge said: "I agree with Erik that there has to be a standard of goodness that's logically distinct from God."

Actually, that's not the position I was suggesting.

Rather, I'm suggesting that it is perfectly possible to say, "by 'good' I mean things like THIS ..." and then point out something that serves as a paradigm instance. There's nothing to prevent Joe from pointing to God's loving character as the paradigm.

Now you'r talking

But there's also nothing to prevent me from pointing out certain pleasurable experiences, or cases of desire fulfillment, or even a broad range of such things. And both will have more or less plausibility insofar as the paradigm given fits the standard uses of the word 'good.'

We are not makimng the moral argument for God. This answering the ED.So all I need here is just to say why the standard is not above God or arbitrary and we can leave the moral argument for latter. I need another post next week,

Both count, I think, as instances of moral realism, insofar as the paradigms identified are really there. So, for instance, if someone complains (as some theists have done) that moral naturalism cannot account for objective morality but must, instead be subjectivists, the reply is that that being poked in the eye with a sharp stick is objectively painful - it isn't just your opinion or arbitrary whim that it is painful.

Being painful doesn't make it immoral.If we are talking meta ethical theory we need say why it's moral not merely why we want it or don't want it, Reducing the moral to what we want is going to lead to confusing acquisitiveness with being good, it's going to make greed a virtue,

In short, I agree that it is possible to ground goodness in God's character in a way that avoids the Euthyphro dilemma. But it is not necessary to ground goodness in God's character: one can ground goodness elsewhere, just as easily.

I agree that is a possibility but I still think God is the strongest and most durable grousing,I defy you to give me a standard that works. But again that's the moral agument not the ED.

The question is which type of grounding one is going to find most plausible.

Proponents of Divine Command Theory, to whom the Euthyphro Dilemma is primarily directed, often try to distinguish between the question of the meaning or etymology of the word 'good' and the question of foundation. I'm suggesting that this distinction may be harder to make than one might think.

I already pointed out the problem of the meteorology I've been down that road it's not as easy as it looks.

7th Stooge said...

V Does there have to be a complete moral calculus that covers every situation?

It depends on if you understand God as a God of the omni's. If God is omniscient, then it would seem that he would decide what's 'best' or optimal in every situation, assuming the other omnis.

7th Stooge said...

Eric: I guess I disagree with you then that it's possible to ground moral goodness in brute dispositional facts, such as God's loving character. I'm not sure Joe is doing that, however. I thought he was saying that there is a standard of moral goodness that God's character coincides with and instantiates and that the distinction between the two is only conceptual. But whether God grounds moral goodness or merely instantiates it, I can't see how Joe's argument gets ooff the ground.

7th Stooge said...

Should read: Whether the argument is that God grounds moral goodness....

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
V Does there have to be a complete moral calculus that covers every situation?

It depends on if you understand God as a God of the omni's. If God is omniscient, then it would seem that he would decide what's 'best' or optimal in every situation, assuming the other omnis.

that does not necessarily mean he would legislate it to us in command form since he has made us in his image and presumably given us the moral ability to understand

10:50 AM


7th Stooge said...
Eric: I guess I disagree with you then that it's possible to ground moral goodness in brute dispositional facts, such as God's loving character. I'm not sure Joe is doing that, however. I thought he was saying that there is a standard of moral goodness that God's character coincides with and instantiates and that the distinction between the two is only conceptual. But whether God grounds moral goodness or merely instantiates it, I can't see how Joe's argument gets ooff the ground.


How could there be a standard apart from God when God is the basis of reality,there is nothing else alongside God. what do you mean by saying arrangement doesn;t get off the ground,I just expatiated twice why it beats the ED.so answer that,why not?

7th Stooge said...

God has to instantiate or actualize the moral standard but that doesn't mean he necessarily grounds it. I don't see what work God does in justifying what is morally right. Without God, there would be no sentient creatures around capable of murdering each other, so in that sense, murder would be impossible, but I have a hard time seeing how God actually grounds the moral wrongness of murder.

Mike Gerow said...

I think there's a discussion here about whether consciousness/character/mind superrcedes principles or it's the other way around .....

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
God has to instantiate or actualize the moral standard but that doesn't mean he necessarily grounds it. I don't see what work God does in justifying what is morally right. Without God, there would be no sentient creatures around capable of murdering each other, so in that sense, murder would be impossible, but I have a hard time seeing how God actually grounds the moral wrongness of murder.

that is a shock to me that you think that way, so more axioms are relive and change with shifting sands, God is a big flunky who can't tell right from wrong,,

Joe Hinman said...

My argument beat upon the ED. now can we agree if not can we stick to that with out getting us into this other stuff?

If you agree the ED is beaten then I;ll advance the moral argument,

Joe Hinman said...

If God makes moral commands then grounds them. If they are commanded, we are obligated to obey them. If we obey them we are justified in amusing they are right since the source of the the good commanded them.

7th Stooge said...

that is a shock to me that you think that way, so more axioms are relive and change with shifting sands, God is a big flunky who can't tell right from wrong,,

I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that I'm saying that the axioms are shifting? Because I'm not. The axioms are unchanging. And God can tell right from wrong, of course. Wherever would you get the idea that I'd think otherwise?! I just don't happen to thin that God has to crowd out all of reality. He doesn't have to ground the laws of logic and maths. He doesn't author all free actions. He withdraws to create an autonomous world of free creatures. I don't see God as a Calvinist super-sovereign God who has to micro-control and micro-ground every nano-event and nano-aspect of reality.

7th Stooge said...

If God makes moral commands then grounds them. If they are commanded, we are obligated to obey them. If we obey them we are justified in amusing they are right since the source of the the good commanded them.

God is the source of the good in terms of our discovery of the good but not necessarily in terms of our justification of the good. I think we justify it through our intuition and through reason and perhaps through revelation. Aren't there some commands in the Bible we no longer recognize as morally binding?

7th Stooge said...

I think there's a discussion here about whether consciousness/character/mind superrcedes principles or it's the other way around .....

I don't see it as necessarily a case of principles superseding mind in the case of morality. I see morality as properties that emerge when rational creatures interact in groups, properties like 'fairness' and 'truth'. It's not like there's a Moral law that's platonic and has existed in the platonic realm or God's mind forever, but it's not like its' relative or fluid either. God wouldn't have to ground such properties because they're just intrinsic to rationality and sociality, although he grounds the properties that make their emergence possible.

Mike Gerow said...

That makes some sense and clarifies your position, I think......

I think moving away from any hidden assumption of a. platonic moral realm is useful there, yeah, and the ED is moot then. Morals arise naturally within human societies, but not in an absolutely relative way either......

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
Joethat is a shock to me that you think that way, so more axioms are relive and change with shifting sands, God is a big flunky who can't tell right from wrong,,

7
I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that I'm saying that the axioms are shifting? Because I'm not. The axioms are unchanging. And God can tell right from wrong, of course. Wherever would you get the idea that I'd think otherwise?! I just don't happen to thin that God has to crowd out all of reality. He doesn't have to ground the laws of logic and maths. He doesn't author all free actions. He withdraws to create an autonomous world of free creatures. I don't see God as a Calvinist super-sovereign God who has to micro-control and micro-ground every nano-event and nano-aspect of reality.

True to an extent but math does have grounding,you known math works because you know the rules. what makes ethics work? it doesn't come with a neat calculus,


11:31 AM
Joe
If God makes moral commands then grounds them. If they are commanded, we are obligated to obey them. If we obey them we are justified in amusing they are right since the source of the the good commanded them.


7
God is the source of the good in terms of our discovery of the good but not necessarily in terms of our justification of the good. I think we justify it through our intuition and through reason and perhaps through revelation. Aren't there some commands in the Bible we no longer recognize as morally binding?

Revelation means God. there is no locus or focal point where we see absolutely how logic applies, we can't work a calculation with math and show envy plus rudness = sin or whatever,


Mike
I think there's a discussion here about whether consciousness/character/mind superrcedes principles or it's the other way around .....

I don't see it as necessarily a case of principles superseding mind in the case of morality. I see morality as properties that emerge when rational creatures interact in groups, properties like 'fairness' and 'truth'. It's not like there's a Moral law that's platonic and has existed in the platonic realm or God's mind forever, but it's not like its' relative or fluid either. God wouldn't have to ground such properties because they're just intrinsic to rationality and sociality, although he grounds the properties that make their emergence possible.


Moral realism,very trendy but still have to ground your axioms,just saying they are grounded because we think they are does not cut it. I advise moral realists to read The maoral prisim by Dorothy Emmett,

Joe Hinman said...

Do y'all understand.or agree with my connection with objectivity in the post? does it make sense?

7th Stooge said...

Moral realism,very trendy but still have to ground your axioms,just saying they are grounded because we think they are does not cut it. I advise moral realists to read The maoral prisim by Dorothy Emmett,

Realists can ground the axioms along somthing like Kantian grounds, where God is the realizer but not the ground or source of morality, where morals have a rational ground. We have to use reason to adjudicate even revelatory claims; the latter are not the final arbiter. It may be that morality doesn;t have one ground. It may not be neat and simple. It may have a rational ground for some axioms and a ground of pre-moral snetiments, such as for benevolence, for otehrs.

Joe Hinman said...

Realists can ground the axioms along somthing like Kantian grounds, where God is the realizer but not the ground or source of morality, where morals have a rational ground. We have to use reason to adjudicate even revelatory claims; the latter are not the final arbiter. It may be that morality doesn;t have one ground. It may not be neat and simple. It may have a rational ground for some axioms and a ground of pre-moral snetiments, such as for benevolence, for otehrs.

Moral realism's I know it does not ground anything in anything,they assert moral axiom are facts,period. they do not need support.There are theisti realistsand atheistic realists.

Stanford EP:
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-realism/

"Taken at face value, the claim that Nigel has a moral obligation to keep his promise, like the claim that Nyx is a black cat, purports to report a fact and is true if things are as the claim purports. Moral realists are those who think that, in these respects, things should be taken at face value—moral claims do purport to report facts and are true if they get the facts right. Moreover, they hold, at least some moral claims actually are true. That much is the common and more or less defining ground of moral realism (although some accounts of moral realism see it as involving additional commitments, say to the independence of the moral facts from human thought and practice, or to those facts being objective in some specified way)".

Joe Hinman said...

Jim are you saying that grounding axioms in the way Kant did is independent from God? he grounded them in God.

7th Stooge said...

Kant grounded morality in the CI which is a rational grounding. For him, the justification of moral actions is rational, not coming from God, even if God for him were the necessary condition for morality.

Let's assume that you're right, that "God is love," or that the nature of his character is to love. I would have no objection to this so far. But why would it follow that God is the source of love? Without God there would be no freedom, but it makes no sense to say that God is the source of freedom, because to create freedom would require that there already be freedom.

Also, how can love alone be sufficient for morality? How can love alone tell you what to do in every moral situation without some other set of principles? Love has to be applied in terms of a set of already established values and priorities. Love alone cannot weight those values. And justice is hard to derive from love alone. Sometimes justice chafes against love. As does truth. But even if you can imagine how love undergirds all of morality, as frankena tries to do, you still need a calculus to apply it. Love is the feeling, but as you yourself have said, morality is more thanfeelings. It has both a subjective and an oobjective aspect. It needs both. We have to check revelatory claims against reason, intuition, itersubjectivity. No one source is unimpeachable.

KR Wordgazer said...

When does justice chafe against love? When does truth? I'd like to see some specific examples.

Joe Hinman said...

Let's assume that you're right, that "God is love," or that the nature of his character is to love. I would have no objection to this so far. But why would it follow that God is the source of love? Without God there would be no freedom, but it makes no sense to say that God is the source of freedom, because to create freedom would require that there already be freedom.

There is no guarantee that we would evolve the capacity to love without God. It may e possible to have the momentary infatuation but not the expansive deep Christian agopic sense,



Also, how can love alone be sufficient for morality?

It is necessary but not sufficient, that's why we need geneticists,s


How can love alone tell you what to do in every moral situation without some other set of principles? Love has to be applied in terms of a set of already established values and priorities. Love alone cannot weight those values. And justice is hard to derive from love alone. Sometimes justice chafes against love. As does truth.

that is what we need ethcists for but without God no ethcists,


But even if you can imagine how love undergirds all of morality, as frankena tries to do,

Joseph Fletcher, for me

you still need a calculus to apply it. Love is the feeling, but as you yourself have said, morality is more thanfeelings. It has both a subjective and an oobjective aspect. It needs both. We have to check revelatory claims against reason, intuition, itersubjectivity. No one source is unimpeachable.


I never dispited that, That;s what the blogis for

Joe Hinman said...

Blogger KR Wordgazer said...
When does justice chafe against love? When does truth? I'd like to see some specific examples.

I agree but there are philosophers who have pitted love against Justice, some only think of justice as punishment, Those are the guys Fletcher was working against,

7th Stooge said...

When does justice chafe against love? When does truth? I'd like to see some specific examples.

Are you hiding Jews in your attic?

7th Stooge said...

I agree but there are philosophers who have pitted love against Justice, some only think of justice as punishment, Those are the guys Fletcher was working against,


No, that's a mischaracterizeration. It's justice as fairness that's been posited as a possible second basic motivation for morality in addition to benevolence and beneficence.

7th Stooge said...

There is no guarantee that we would evolve the capacity to love without God. It may e possible to have the momentary infatuation but not the expansive deep Christian agopic sense,

We wouldn't BE at all if it weren't for God. But that's not the point. There would be no people without GOd but that alone doesn't establish that God alone is sufficient for the moral ideas that people are capable of having.

It is necessary but not sufficient, that's why we need geneticists,s

No, it's why we need meta-ethics.

KR Wordgazer said...

7th Stooge, what do you mean by that question? In what way is hiding Jews in one's attic pitting love against justice? Laws can be unjust. Laws that result in the extermination of Jews are neither loving nor just. Civil disobedience is morally required in such a case.

Joe Hinman said...

yes I meant meta ethics,I can;t believe that stupid auto correct just re wrote it so arbitrarily.

Joe Hinman said...

7: "We wouldn't BE at all if it weren't for God. But that's not the point. There would be no people without GOd but that alone doesn't establish that God alone is sufficient for the moral ideas that people are capable of having."

Unless you are Bamako the moral argument it need not be proven.It's a doctrine of the faith.We establish the faith on other grounds this comes as part of the package,

7th Stooge said...

7th Stooge, what do you mean by that question? In what way is hiding Jews in one's attic pitting love against justice? Laws can be unjust. Laws that result in the extermination of Jews are neither loving nor just. Civil disobedience is morally required in such a case.

KR, it was a case of truth chafing against love. If I love the people I'm hiding in my attic, then my love pressures me to lie to the Nazis.

But let's take love chafing against justice. Let's take the case of a child being implicated in a murder. I think most parents would feel torment in such a case. It would be a very difficult decision to make, far more difficult than in turning in a stranger in the same circumstances.

Kristen said...

7th Stooge, I see what you're saying. I have a few thoughts, though. To tell the whole truth to the Nazis would be more than just saying there are Jews hiding in your attic. You would also be telling them that you're against everything they stand for and that they need to leave the Jews alone; in fact, that they are morally obligated to examine their whole way of life and change it. So it seems to me to be not truth chafing against love, but truth chafing against wisdom-- because, if they would hear it and change their ways (and not add to their crimes by killing you), the whole truth would be the most loving thing to tell them.

In the case of a child implicated in a murder, is this justice vs. love-- pure justice vs. pure love? Or is this human justice against human love? Human justice might try the child as an adult and impose life imprisonment. But would that really be the most just thing to do? It depends on the circumstances of the case, of course-- but as a parent, I might still be able to see that ultimately, the most loving thing for my child, and for other human beings who also need to be treated with love, would be for my child to be restrained for ever from killing anyone else. Whether our prisons, as they exist now, are really just (or whether the death sentence is really just), is another question, and I certainly can see, as a parent, I might hesitate to subject my child to these very human forms of "justice." But I think there really is a sense in which love and justice are the same. The issue is more about competing claims to them both. Love and justice are owed to all, of course-- but there is also the fact that according to justice, I owe a stronger duty to my child-- for his or her care and best interests-- than I owe to a stranger. In addition to the love I must bear to every human, is the additional duty as a parent to take care of my own child, that I do not owe to everyone's child.

7th Stooge said...

Kristen, You make good points. As far as the Nazis go, ideally, telling them the "whole truth" would be the best, but unfortunately, in this scenario i don't have that luxury. With them conducting door to door searches, if I were to try to educate them about their moral shortcomings, they would shove me out of the way and do a sweep through my premises uncovering the family I'm harboring. All I can do in this situation is to get them to move on to the next house.

As far as the other scenario, when I wrote "child", I meant an adult child. We can argue about what constitutes true 'justice,' but I think there's a distinction usually made between prevention and justice. Regardless of how we imagine perfect 'justice' to be, my point was that love, at least human love, is almost always very very interested, and that distributive justice as a moral ideal is very DISinterested, and that for most people in their lives, there is a very real tension between these two poles. Christianity and other religions offer an ideal of universal love, of God loving all people, and all of creation, equally, but that for us it must remain only an ideal that only a very few individuals can actually live.

Kristen said...

7th Stooge, it seems to me that we're really saying very similar things but from different angles.

Joe Hinman said...

Interesting discussion,I have to think about it.

Joe Hinman said...

Fletcher is saying that justice is the distributive process of love.

7th Stooge said...

Joe, You mentioned Kant. I thought Kant is saying that even if God commands moral duties, we still have to decide by means of our own autonomous will to obey thise commands. He thought that the autonomous will was the absolute moral principle. It seems like what you're talking about, Joe, is the heteronomous will, that God, as the source of the good, makes what is morally right morally right, and that we, in recognizing this fact, cannot help but obey, etc.

Joe Hinman said...

please comment on today's essay try to bet some traffic. it's 10 people. I used to get 200 a day,

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
Joe, You mentioned Kant. I thought Kant is saying that even if God commands moral duties, we still have to decide by means of our own autonomous will to obey thise commands. He thought that the autonomous will was the absolute moral principle.


the categorical imperative is the ultimate value or duty, but we have to decide to obey.



It seems like what you're talking about, Joe, is the heteronomous will, that God, as the source of the good, makes what is morally right morally right, and that we, in recognizing this fact, cannot help but obey, etc.


we have to choose but we dont set up the choices.

Mike Gerow said...

--depends on if you understand God as a God of the omni's. If God is omniscient, then it would seem that he would decide what's 'best' or optimal in every situation, assuming the other omnis.


That still assumes there IS A "right" answer to every moral dilemma. Some moral dilemmas - say between saving a loved one and saving a given number of strangers -- might be undecidable by any type of moral calculation, might come down to a bare existential choice.

(So there might not be any number of strangers that make saving them the "correct" decision.)

7th Stooge said...

we have to choose but we dont set up the choices.

But you were originally claiming that God is giving us moral duties, such as not to murder, steal, etc, not that he was setting up the parameters of the choices. I thouhgt that you were saying that once we recognize God's special status and moral authority, we cannot help but obey, that our wills are not autonomous.

7th Stooge said...

That still assumes there IS A "right" answer to every moral dilemma. Some moral dilemmas - say between saving a loved one and saving a given number of strangers -- might be undecidable by any type of moral calculation, might come down to a bare existential choice.

(So there might not be any number of strangers that make saving them the "correct" decision.)

Good point. I think there are some philosophers of ethics who say it's impossible to abstract from the particular circumstances we're in. But with God, that would be different, of course. But maybe even with God, not every moral situation has a definitively right answer.