Discussion on Euthyphro and Kant

In Euthyphro, Socrates, one of the original great Greek philosophers, seeks to find the meaning of a few principles generally associated with the moral aspect of religion through a dialogue with the religious expert Euthyphro. An important consideration to take into account when discussing the philosophical nature of his dialogues is that he was indicted for acts that were disproved by the State. His questions are perhaps just as much aimed at raising doubts about his (would-be) incrimination as they are inclined to unearth the concept of morality with respect to religion.

Socrates raises questions about piety and morality with regards to god(s), who he purports to believe are responsible for religion. However, when arguing against polytheistic religions, he imagines that the gods might be in conflict as to what constitutes piety, or even morality, thus a strict definition may not be achievable. By suggesting the same he instills a very real possibility of religion being the work of a man instead of a superior creation if a man is responsible for the definition of a pious act, he may alter the definition with time, creating uncertainties that word of gods are not supposed to endorse. Euthyphro also indicates that moral values may be subject to the same ambiguities of origin, thereby indicating that the gods in question may just be a figment without concrete definition, and thus capable of change. Socrates blaspheme of worshipping other Gods were probably factored into the argument, in which Euthyphro, and consequently his followers, were made to question the very foundations of his religious beliefs.

Discussion on Kant
Kant laid down a few stepping stones in the formation of belief regarding the presence of moral values as governing a devoted mans actions. His discussion provides a basis of argument as to what constitutes the source of moral values, whether it is a divine understanding of the limits of a mans actions or whether it is simply a way devised by those positioned in power in order to regulate the code of conduct of the general population.

Kant indicates the ambient presence of divine will or regulation that incorporates itself into the conduct of humans through conscience, thereby serving to create maxims, staying within which constitutes moral conduct. In doing so, Kant argues in favor of the supernatural flavor of religion(s), which of course are designed to regulate the conduct of humans. Since each of them impart definitions as to what may be considered moral, they are not the actual source of moral values themselves, but instead are just a mechanism through which the instinctual nature of humans to distinguish right from wrong operate. The three formulations of moral conduct he stipulates are thus an indication that individuals, although capable of acting on free will, guided by divine will, can understand moral acts to be in favor of humanity and are thus automatic, originating in the conscience.


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