By Jove: A Brief Look at Polytheistic Divine Command Theory

1635 WordsFeb 2, 20187 Pages
Sophocles’ famous play “Antigone” highlights a problem in what was then the prevalent worldview for most pious Greeks, that of Divine Command Theory. Divine Command Theory is a philosophical paradigm, or worldview, which essentially states that an action is good if and only if it has been commanded by a divine entity, which, to quote St. Thomas Aquinas, “all men know as God.” The problem arises in what happens when there exist multiple deities, such as is the case with the Greek and Roman pantheons. Socrates himself argues about this in the famous work Euthyphro, underscoring the fact that this is a problem which has been around for a very long time. It would seem that the existence of multiple deities destroys the possibility of there being a coherent system of morality. What, for example, would be the course of action if one god were to prefer one action which is opposed to another action preferred by a different god? In the Greek mythology which serves as something of a backdrop for Antigone, it was not at all uncommon for the Olympian deities to be at odds with each other about this or that thing, or even outright conflict. Another problem raised by a polytheistic Divine Command Theory is the question “Do the gods command an action because it’s morally right, or is it morally right because the gods command it?” The polytheists must by necessity choose the first option, for reasons that will be explained later in the paper. This paper will take the position that the

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