Luke Martin

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Does God=Good, or is good a quality of God?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2007, 06:02:19 pm »
Well, I don't know of anyone who thinks of exemplification in the sense you just expressed it anymore (amongst philosophers).  You've just expressed Plato's notion of exemplification.  He thought that The Good (or The Form of the Good), for example, is a perfect, eternal example of goodness.  Good things in the world exemplify goodness by resembling The Good.  Exemplification is thus a resemblance relation.  A classic problem for this kind of model/copy view of exemplification is what's called "the third man argument."  We postulate The Good to explain the similarity between various actions (or people).  Why are these things good?  Because they resemble The Good.  But the problem is that there is a similarity between any good action and The Good.  What explains this similarity?  Some third thing that they both resemble?  (Hence the name, "the third man," since if what explains the similarity between two men is the Form Man, which is itself a perfect man, then what explains the similarity between Socrates and the Form Man is some third Man that they both resemble, and we're off to infinity).  One might say that we don't need a third Good.  A good action resembles the good, and that's the end of the matter.  But once one says this, one has undercut the motivation for believing in The Good in the first place, for one could then say that two good actions resemble each other and there's no need to postulate The Good to explain this.  But this is just resemblance nominalism.
Futhermore, the model/copy view seems to give a bad account of relations.  "To the left of" is not some perfect To The Left Of that is somehow resembled by something (by what?) when objects are left of other things.
No, exemplification is not resemblance.  So, when I say that my action would exemplify God, I am not saying that it resembles God (a difficult notion anyway; resembles him how? If he's simple, then goodness=omnipotence, but surely my action doesn't resemble omnipotence).  Rather, it would exemplify God, just as a red ball exemplifies redness (it doesn't resemble redness, for redness, as an abstract, non-spatial object, isn't itself colored).  Since that's obviously false, simplicity doesn't help.

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Eric Stewart

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Does God=Good, or is good a quality of God?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2007, 07:39:56 pm »

Did Plato's perfect original forms create the imperfect copies? The Third Man argument wouldn't apply to the relationship between God and man. God revealed himself as the progenitor of everything that is not him, and that he is perfect.  

One person with God is a majority.
~ Billy Graham

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jayceeii

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Re: Does God=Good, or is good a quality of God?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2020, 08:42:56 am »
Well I have some more stuff from my philosophy class guys, that I'd love to get your opinions on. The argument is in part that of the Euthyphro Dilema.

Here is my argument:The dilemma is quickly dissolved when you split the horns of the dilemma by saying that the good is the very nature of God and that the commands of God flow necessarily out of his moral nature. Because God is just, He commands things that are for us just. So the good is nether arbitrary, nor is it something outside and above God. Rather the good is the moral nature of God himself, which is expressed necessarily in his moral commands, which become for us moral duties.

Here is his reply to my argument:
I will admit, however, that I think Socrates disatisfiction with the equivocation of God and Goodness is a profound idea.  This is because as far as I can tell the claim "God is good" can mean two things: God is identical to goodness in which case it seems to me all we are saying is that "God is God" or it can mean Goodness is a quality of God in which case it seems to me that we are judging God by a standard independent of God and declaring by that standard that God is good. 
Now, I have already thought about this somewhat and have some ideas. But any New ideas would be great. Please post your responses to his objection. Thanks!
ws:  Well I have some more stuff from my philosophy class guys, that I'd love to get your opinions on. The argument is in part that of the Euthyphro Dilemma.

jc: The Euthyphro Dilemma is, "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

By “the pious” I would understand dharma as it is said in the East, or righteousness as it is said in the West, in general what is the right thing to do. The dilemma revolves around personal presence, as in without the people there can be no question of righteous actions. There can be a chance to do something righteous with no one present to do it, for instance if a man were dying of thirst in the desert most humans agree it would be righteous to give him water, but there are no humans nearby so he perishes. Yet the act is only righteous on the principle that those who are thirsty should drink. That’s a principle that can be denied. Two billion humans lack access to safe, readily available drinking water at home. Though some charities throw drops in the bucket this is not a general social policy.

In righteous acts of this type, there is the need and the fulfiller of the need. The one who fulfills has a chance of action, and it is his mind that assesses the goodness of the act. Next you can ask if he will undertake the action in a beautiful way or in an ugly way. Does he send a truck with drinking water, or does he build all the necessary infrastructure? You find he is making a judgment call in all this, i.e. he is not only deciding to do the good deed, but further deciding to do it in the best way that he can. In general the dilemma is a chicken-and-egg thing, with the goodness of the act and the decision to undertake the act interwoven. Establishing a need depends on decisions of who is a good person deserving the fulfillment of the need, i.e. that there is some objective demand for a right action. Since humans are inconstant, let us say the angels love to do good acts because they descry an objective need, i.e. the pious is loved by the gods because it is pious. However it is their value decision that the act is righteous. Were they not there the act would go undone, like a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear. Since they are there and do the act, but also strive to do it beautifully, the act can be called righteous because they want to do it, i.e. the act is pious because the gods love it.

Resolving this dilemma one necessarily goes in circles, largely because the language is vague and the circumstances are not established of a needed act and potential observers. There can be different classes of action too, not just fulfilling a need. For instance the angels might like to go dancing on a summer evening, and all their noble bows and polite exchanges at the event become part of the dharma or righteousness they are creating from their love for it, although arguably this is also meeting a need for recreation after labors.

The dilemma can also be approached by asking from whose perspective does the act appear righteous. If no one is watching, there is neither need nor righteous act. In the very decision of what is righteous, angels are making the act righteous by their love for it. Their mental powers are churning, for instance deciding all in human bodies ought to have clean drinking water. The thirsty one also has his perspective, and would argue the act is righteous and should be done, though no one attends. He’d have to admit it is for lack of love that the act remains undone. Clearly the presence of a doer brings the need to life. In general this vague dilemma is only a starting point for discussing good actions.

ws: Here is my argument: The dilemma is quickly dissolved when you split the horns of the dilemma by saying that the good is the very nature of God and that the commands of God flow necessarily out of his moral nature.

jc: The Euthyphro Dilemma isn’t that puzzling, but it has puzzled men because they don’t think much about the nature of good actions, mainly reacting or following a crowd. Instead of God let us say “angel” here, then he is arguing good is the very nature of an angel and that the decisions of goodness flow necessarily from their moral nature. The angels might be pleased to hear themselves described this way, but I think they’d protest that they are living persons and the description is instead of something inanimate, like a spring flowing out of a rock. They’d likely say they could choose to be evil if they wished, but that this would be both irrational and painful for them. This turns around to define evil as a lack of power and wisdom, not a positive choice made by intelligence.

ws: Because God is just, He commands things that are for us just.

jc: No one can argue that God has commanded anything. The religions don’t rise this high. Any commandments in any religion continue to circulate around the human domain. Furthermore justice exists only among the dualistic minds, which is to say the minds conceiving matter to hold intrinsic value, in other words minds capable of evil.

ws: So the good is neither arbitrary, nor is it something outside and above God.

jc: This is his interpretation of the Euthyphro Dilemma, which again is, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” I’m seeing some gaps in the analogy, but in general he’s wondering if there is a standard of goodness outside of God, by which God abides. But the point cannot be untangled from the angels or “gods,” because in a sense a crying need has a type of objective justification, but without the love of the angels it won’t be met. Humans won’t meet it. The angels bring their goodness to the real world situation, that benefits from their love.

ws: Rather the good is the moral nature of God himself, which is expressed necessarily in his moral commands, which become for us moral duties.

jc: Again, it’s too early in history to make statements about God’s commands, when He hasn’t given any, and it’s too early in history to make statements of human moral duties, since they aren’t following any but those derived from self-will. This is talk about morality without actual morality. Humans follow standards, but not objective standards.

Bringing it over to the angels, one can say that God must have made the souls capable of arising to purity and goodness, but goodness is also seen to flow from any soul which is self-aware as spirit and fully intelligent. The angels can be called self-willed in spirit, whereas the humans are self-willed in flesh, i.e. body-identified where angels are detached from the body. Fully rational entities have to be good, since evil is ugly and foolish. Humans don’t know what beauty is, nor have they a vision of universal harmony.
 
ws: Here is his reply to my argument:
I will admit, however, that I think Socrates’ dissatisfaction with the equivocation of God and Goodness is a profound idea.

jc: The Euthyphro Dilemma is somewhat trivial, at best a spark to initiate discussion about what constitutes goodness and the decision to be good. It’s food for thought, not really a profound expression of truth. Humans have not thought about these types of things, and Socrates didn’t provide much guidance, but then again it simply is not possible for body-identified souls to think much about this, or to attain true goodness.

In one of the most typical and vital applications, there is a need and a need for someone to notice the need. The souls are an extreme case of this, as it is upon God to notice and preserve them eternally, despite their relatively cantankerous if not outright rebellious nature. Ws is unaware he is in a state of need like this, or that God is not flowing like a stream out of a rock with respect to his salvation. Having made the souls they stand on their own and God would be free to ignore them if He chose. Ws might laugh about this.

ws: This is because as far as I can tell the claim "God is good" can mean two things: God is identical to goodness in which case it seems to me all we are saying is that "God is God" or it can mean Goodness is a quality of God in which case it seems to me that we are judging God by a standard independent of God and declaring by that standard that God is good. 

jc: This is a one-dimensional, irreverent argument crashing everything down to the human plane. It makes an assumption humans can understand what goodness is, when this is not the case. Swedenborg should be studied more, and one of his most important revelations is that there are “circles” of angels in Heaven, where a lesser circle does not understand the goodness of a greater circle. If you want to talk about goodness seriously instead of as an armchair exercise for lazy philosophers, you want to talk about profound and eternal effects upon the souls and social harmony. If the lesser angels cannot understand the goodness of the greater angels, humans are surely unable to “judge” God.

Furthermore as I’ve been noting, goodness is actually tied in with full rationality and an accurate existential vision, and evil arises from irrationality and a limited material vision. The wise are inherently good, so you can’t say goodness is a property of theirs, as such. Goodness and evil are not opposing properties. Evil is the absence of power and purity.

The angels can experience this around the Lord, who will always be making different choices to implement goodness from God’s perspective, than they will be making. They are unable to see the standards God is following, just as lesser angels are unable to see the standards greater angels are following. There is harmony among the divine by a forgiving approximation, as after all the poor will be fed, though some are achieving deeper effects in the soul and society. Humans and angels are therefore unable to say that “God is good,” with full authority. They can only judge by the standards they’re able to manifest.

ws: Now, I have already thought about this somewhat and have some ideas. But any New ideas would be great. Please post your responses to his objection. Thanks!

jc: Civilization revolves around needs and how these are addressed, so Socrates was like Jesus and Buddha using deceit, failing to present useful standards for human reformation. It isn’t immediately obvious where he goes God also goes, but perhaps it should have been obvious before now. Human civilization depends on the one who has needs grabbing for their fulfillment. It does not depend on wisdom of the elders to see the need and meet this need with love. It has worked for a race apparently rising from the animals.