Solving the Euthyphro Dilemma

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Imagine being stranded on the open sea in a lifeboat with a maximum capacity of fifty people. Who would you let go, who would you save? Consider this; there are a total of one hundred and seventy-five people who all deserve to live as much as the next. This can pose a difficult decision for any individual in charge of the situation. There are different ways an individual may go about coming to an ultimate decision which can be traced back to their personal motives along with their background on making ethical decisions. A divine command theorist, a relativist and an egoist could all be placed in this situation and come to completely different decisions on how to best resolve this dilemma. A divine command theorist would rely on the guidance of God in this time of crisis. A relativist would look at the situation and base it on their individual or cultural morals. An egoist would assess the situation and develop a resolution in a way that would best benefit them. For many it may be hard to determine exactly which category of ethical theories they fall into because the boundary lines from one to the other seemed to have blended over time. There are many factors to consider when deciding which ethical approach best resolves the presented dilemma. It may involve a combination of the three to satisfy the cultural and personal needs of an individual. Who would God command you to save? How would God want you to act in this situation? Divine command theorists would rationalize that God would reward their act of self sacrifice and would promote saving the children, friends, and strangers over themselves. They would also know that if it were God’s will for certain individuals to die then that would happen and they would be rewarded with h... ... middle of paper ... ...Mother Teresa is prime example of this; we know in fact that she was a believer in God. Also, according to text found in an abandoned house in Calcutta believed to be written by Mother Teresa, “If you do good deeds, you will be attributed for selfish hidden purposes; IT DOESN’T MATTER, DO GOOD DEEDS.” This is exactly what an egoist would say to justify their decision. Keeping in mind these two theories, the last theory must be addressed to combine all three. Whether Mother Teresa gained her morals from within or from the influence of her culture she is undeniably a moral relativist. Using Mother Teresa as an example we can come to the conclusion that all three may be combined if not dependant on the existence of the others. Indeed if Mother Teresa was on the boat she would save the women and children for her own selfish need to please herself in the name of God.

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