A Right Ethical Act Is One Approved By God. Discuss.

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A Right Ethical Act Is One Approved By God? (25 Marks)

Divine command theory of ethics says that an act is either moral or immoral solely because God either commands us to do it or prohibits us from doing it. The only thing that makes an act morally wrong is that God prohibits doing it, and all that it means to say for example is that killing is wrong because God forbids murder. Within Devine command theory we find that it is wildly far-fetched for reasons best illustrated by the Euthyphro dilemma, which is based on a discussion of what it means for an act to be holy in Plato's Euthyphro. Substituting "moral wrongness" for "holiness" raises the dilemma “Is torture wrong because God prohibits it, or does God prohibit torture because it is already wrong?”

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Devine command theory takes the first route, Euthyphro takes the last one. If a good God prohibits torture he does so because torture is intrinsically wrong, not merely because he declares torture to be wrong by deeming it that way. But then, if torture is intrinsically wrong, then it is wrong regardless of whether or not God exists. Either certain acts are wrong regardless of anyone's opinions or commands - including God's, or else all that we mean by "torture is wrong" is "God prohibits torture." Rather than grounding the objectivity of ethics, Devine command theory completely undermines it by insisting that God's ...

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