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The Euthyphro, Divine Command Theory and Moral Realism1


Divine command theories of metaethics are commonly rejected on the basis of the Euthyphro problem. In this paper, I argue that the Euthyphro can be raised for all forms of moral realism. I go on to argue that this does not matter as the Euthyphro is not really a problem after all. I then briefly outline some of the attractions of a divine command theory of metaethics. I suggest that given one of the major reasons for rejecting such an analysis has been found to be unsound divine command theories deserve to be taken more seriously in contemporary metaethics.

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I thank Julia Tanner for having read an earlier version of this paper.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P. L. Quinn , Divine commands and moral requirements (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978)

R. Joyce , ‘Theistic ethics and the Euthyphro dilemma’, Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (2002), 49

C. Coons , ‘How to prove that some acts are wrong (without using substantive moral premises)’, Philosophical studies 155 (2011), 92

S. Finlay , ‘Four faces of moral realism’, Philosophy Compass 2 (2007), 20

M. S. Bedke , ‘Might All Normativity Be Queer?’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2010), 46

R. Shafer-Landau , Moral Realism: A Defence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 77

C. M. Korsgaard and O. O'Neill , The sources of normativity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 39

M. Ridge , ‘Anti-reductionism and Dupervenience’, Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (2007), 337

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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