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Posted: December 20th, 2022

The Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro Problem

You can choose either one of the topics below… not both but either or 1. The Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro Problem. What is the main idea of Divine Command Theory (DCT)? What are some of the attractive features of this theory? What is the general question about morality known as “The Euthypro Problem” (EP)? How is this question formulated in the excerpt from Plato’s dialogue? How is this question generalized by Rachels? How does EP show that DCT makes morality arbitrary? How does EP show that DCT makes the doctrine of God’s goodness meaningless? If one were to reject DCT because this theory cannot give a satisfactory answer to EP, does it mean that one would have to reject the belief in God as well? OR 2. The Theory of Natural Law versus the worldview based on modern science. What is the main idea of The Theory of Natural Law (TNL)? What is the central feature of the worldview on which this theory is based? What are some of the examples offered in support of this worldview? How does this worldview lead to the conception of “laws of nature” as moral laws? What are the main features of the worldview presented to us by modern science? How does this science-based worldview differ from the worldview underlying TNL? How does the science-based worldview pose a problem for TNL?


The Divine Command Theory (DCT) is a theory of ethics that holds that an action is morally right or wrong depending on whether it is commanded or forbidden by God. According to this theory, moral truths are not independent of God’s will; rather, they depend on what God commands or prohibits.

One of the attractive features of DCT is that it provides a clear and objective standard for determining what is right and wrong. It also offers a basis for moral authority and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

The Euthyphro Problem, also known as the Euthyphro Dilemma, is a question about the nature of morality that is formulated in Plato’s dialogue “Euthyphro.” In the dialogue, Socrates asks Euthyphro whether something is good because the gods approve of it, or whether the gods approve of it because it is good.

Rachels generalizes this question as follows: “Is an action right because God commands it, or does God command it because it is right?”

The Euthyphro Problem raises two difficulties for DCT. First, it suggests that morality becomes arbitrary under DCT, because whatever God commands is considered morally right, regardless of the inherent moral qualities of the action. This means that if God commanded something that is normally considered morally wrong, such as killing an innocent person, it would become morally right under DCT.

Second, the Euthyphro Problem suggests that DCT makes the doctrine of God’s goodness meaningless, because God’s goodness becomes dependent on whether he commands actions that are morally right. This means that God could command actions that are morally wrong and still be considered good, which seems counterintuitive.

It is important to note that rejecting DCT does not necessarily mean rejecting the belief in God. There are other ethical theories that are compatible with belief in God, such as natural law theory, which holds that moral truths are grounded in the nature of things and are independent of God’s will.

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