Ethics and God

Authors

  • Lenn E. Goodman

    Corresponding author
    1. Vanderbilt University
      Department of Philosophy Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN, USA lenn.e.goodman@vanderbilt.edu
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Department of Philosophy Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN, USA lenn.e.goodman@vanderbilt.edu

Abstract

Philosophers like to speak of a “Euthyphro Dilemma” pitting divine fiat against a moral realism that soon fades to personal or social preferences. But Plato targets no such dilemma. The Euthyphro hints a complementarity of divine commands with human moral insights. Values are constitutive in ideas of divinity, and monotheism affirms only goodness in God. So, pace James Rachels, worship is not surrender of autonomy, as Saadiah and Maimonides' biblical and rabbinic ethics reveal. Chimneying more fairly models the dialectic of religion with ethics than does the contrived conflict between putatively arbitrary divine commands and presumptively self-certifying human moral creativity.

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