In Plato's early dialogues, Socrates typically argues by cross-examining someone's claims in order to draw out a contradiction among them. For example, in the Euthyphro, Socrates asks Euthyphro to provide a definition of piety. Euthyphro replies that the pious is that which is loved by the gods. But, Socrates also has Euthyphro agreeing that the gods are quarrelsome and their quarrels, like human quarrels, concern objects of love or hatred. Therefore, Socrates reasons, at least one thing exists that certain gods love but other gods hate. Again, Euthyphro agrees. Socrates concludes that if Euthyphro's definition of piety is acceptable, then there must exist at least one thing that is both pious and impious (as it is both loved and hated by the gods)—which, Euthyphro admits, is absurd. Thus, Euthyphro is brought to a realization by this dialectical method that his definition of piety cannot be correct. This particular example has become known as the Euthyphro dilemma: is something good because it is willed by God (or the gods), or is it willed by God because it is good? It shows that, underneath what appears as a simple contradiction due to prejudice and ignorance, issues much deeper and more difficult to resolve involving the nature of ultimate reality remain.
- I think I've got a solution. The Bible says, "In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God." In other words, moral law doesn't control God, and God doesn't control moral law, God is moral law, and therefore defines it. Does this seem like a viable solution? David Talk 16:20, 2 November 2010 (EDT)
- Good question, but I think it's a false dilemma. Unificationism defines good and evil in terms of benifits (or harm) to other people. It's good to benefit another person, and especially noble to do so self-sacrificially: "Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for ..." While evil would be to exploit another person for one's own benefit.