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Lecture 2 (short version) Euthyphro

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GEM1004 Reason & Persuasion Assoc. prof. John Holbo. Lecture 2 (short version) Euthyphro. What is justice? Why is this a symbol for justice?. What is justice blind? What is it she’s not supposed to see? Certain sorts of personal facts. But I’m not no one in particular.

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GEM1004 Reason & Persuasion

Assoc. prof. John Holbo

Lecture 2

(short version)

Euthyphro

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What is justice?

Why is this a symbol for justice?

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What is justice blind?

What is it she’s not supposed to see?

Certain sorts of personal facts

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But I’m not no one in particular.

I’m me. So how does this conception of justice relate to all that important stuff it won’t see?

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Can’t I have both?

Circle & Straight?

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Two questions are getting a bit crossed:

  • What is the JUST thing for Euthyphro to do?
  • What is the PIOUS/HOLY thing?
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Problem 2: A couple examples of holy things aren’t really enough. We need a definition. The ‘form’ of holiness. Some feature all holy actions share, making them be what they are.

Suppose a friend comes to your door late at night. “I think my dad murdered someone. What should I do?”

You would sit down and try to define ‘holiness’, right? Obviously not. Why not?

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Here’s one reason you might want a definition. You want to understand this Venn diagram.

And here’s another reason why you might want a definition …

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GEM1004 Reason & Persuasion

Assoc. prof. John Holbo

Lecture 2 Part 2

Euthyphro

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Definition 1: What the gods love is holy. What they hate is unholy.

Problem 3: The gods fight about everything.

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Definition 2: What ALL the gods love is holy. What they hate is unholy.

Problem 4: No one really wants to join the Evil League of Evil.

http://www.evilleagueofevil.com/

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Is it holy because the gods love it, or do the gods live it because it is holy?

  • A dilemma:
  • Either what is holy turns out to be arbitrary.
  • Or what we really want to know is what is right – or good or just.
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The point isn’t so much that Euthyphro is wrong to be prosecuting his father. (Maybe he’s right. It’s not as though the idea that impersonal justice is ideal is obviously wrong.) But he’s distracted by a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense:

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