The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro , in which Socrates asks the titular character, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”

This type of pseudo-problem often arises in theological debates between atheists and theists. While there are multitude of responses and refutations, many of them are complicated and require detailed explanations. Doug Benscoter provides a simple, knock-down argument that can be used to easily explain why it is a false dilemma:


Roughly, the modern defender of the alleged dilemma asks, “is something good because God wills it, or does God will something because it is good?” Let’s tackle this question by separating each part of the disjunction:

A. X is good because God wills it.

B. God wills X because X is good.

Now, in order for this to be a true dilemma, B must be the negation (or the equivalent to the negation) of A. Otherwise, the disjunction that Socrates presents is a false dilemma. Euthyphro should have asked Socrates why A and B are contradictory. Why can it not be the case that both A and B?

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