Monday, October 28, 2013

Proof of the Greatest Happiness Principle

Mill's Proof of the Greatest Happiness Principle.
(1) if you see something, this proves that it is visible.
(2) Similarly, desiring something proves that it is desirable.
(3) The only thing that each person truly desires is happiness.
(4) The only thing that is truly desirable for a person is his or her own happiness.
(5) Hence each person should perform the actions that promote the greatest happiness.

Three Problems with this Argument:
First,  (2) does not follow from (1).  Visibility and desirability are not the same kinds of things.
Second,  (4) does not follow from (3).  To assume that we can derive an "ought" from an "is" is to make the naturalistic fallacy, which is a point made by David Hume.
Third,  (5) does not follow from (4).  Just because your own happiness is desirable does not mean that the happiness of other people is also desirable.

Further Objections to Utilitarianism:
(1) We cannot always predict what the consequences of our actions will be.  It is difficult if not impossible to judge the morality of an action based on what the predicted consequences will be.
(2) It is difficult to quantify pleasures.  In other words, it is hard to represent pleasures with numbers in order to determine if happiness will be maximized by an action. Cost-benefit analysis is difficult if not impossible.
(3) Also, the process of trying to determine if an action will maximize happiness is time-consuming and difficult.  It is not practical that we will be able to do such a calculation before we perform an action.
(4) Utilitarianism cannot explain special duties or obligations that we have to people like our friends, family and neighbors.
(5) If we only care about sum total happiness, then there will be actions that are good while these actions do cause a great amount of pain for some people.  For example, say that six of the seven dwarves decide to torture, beat and murder the Dopey for fun.  Even though Dopey experiences a lot of pain, utility is still maximized because the other dwarves are so happy.  Thus a utilitarian must say that it is good for the dwarves to murder Dopey.
(6) Utilitarianism fails to respect individual rights.  The rights of a single person can be violated as long as the greatest good is still maximized.
(7) Utilitarianism does not address the question of what kind of a person we should be.  The focus is entirely on consequences rather than the character of people.  For example, if I am offered a job as an assassin, I might think that killing people for a job would be OK because even if I do not take the job, someone else will.  This means that whether or not I am an assassin, the consequences are the same, hence the moral value of either choice is equal.
(8)  Pain is either entirely subjective (meaning that it does not exist) or perhaps pain is a good thing itself.

The first three objections do not attack the theory but rather the practice of the theory.  Objections (1), (2) and (3) are all objections that the theory is impractical and difficult (if not impossible) to use as a way of making moral decisions.  Objections (4), (5), (6), (7) and (8) object on the grounds that the results of utilitarian theory will conflict with strong moral intuitions or other reasons to consider when deciding if an action is good or bad.

Intro to Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill is a great example of a classic consequentialist.  His view in particular is called utilitarianism.   Utilitarianism is the view that in order to determine if an action is good or bad, we must look at the consequences of the act.  Specifically, we must ask whether we can expect the action to give us utility.  Utility is very similar to happiness.  A thing has utility if it causes us more happiness and pleasure than pain and sadness.  In short, utility is net happiness (the happiness left over after we take away all the unhappiness).  Mill's utilitarianism is not an egocentric or self-centered view.  One must not just look at the consequences for oneself; one must also consider the consequences for other people.  Utilitarianism thus requires that we have expectations about the consequences of our behaviors.  Although we may not know the consequence until we act, we must consider the consequences that we do expect to happen.  In short, what makes an action moral is to maximize net expectable utility.  Actions are good if they tend to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

One objection to utilitarianism might be that it excludes the happiness or utility of animals from being relevant to moral considerations.  Someone might think that it is not enough that an action promotes the good of human beings.  Someone might think that we must also consider whether an action promotes utility for animals.

Greatest Happiness Principle: The greatest end or goal is to achieve the absence of pain and to maximize the quality and quantity of our happiness.  We perform all actions in order to achieve this goal (this is a descriptive claim about what motivates our action).

Mill thinks that actions are right if they promote happiness and that actions are wrong if they promote pain or the lack of happiness (this is a normative claim that asserts that what is moral is what promotes happiness; Mill derives a moral normative claim from his psychological descriptive claim).  In other words, if an action multiplies happiness then that action is good.

Happiness is used as a technical term in Mill.  Happiness means pleasure.  Mill talks about two kinds of pleasure, or enjoyment.  Sometimes, he is talking about a kind of mental state, such as being happy or thinking that chocolate cake tastes really good.  Other times, he talks about actions or activities that are likely to produce such pleasant mental states.  Sven call pleasures that are mental states "subjective pleasures" and he calls pleasures that are activities or actions "objective pleasures".

Happiness is measured in two ways: quality (how good of a pleasure is it) and quantity (how much pleasure is there).  Quantity is measured by how many people experience the good.  We can also measure quantity by how long a pleasure lasts or how many time the pleasure is experienced.  Quality can be measured in two ways.  First, we can use a democratic method of determining which pleasures are better; the more people who think a pleasure is desirable, the better the pleasure is.  For example, if more people think that eating ice cream is more desirable than eating bananas, then eating ice cream is a higher (better) good.  Second, Mill thinks that pleasures that involve using our minds and our rational thinking are higher (better) than pleasures that only involve sensation.  For example, using our reasoning skills to solve a math problem is a higher pleasure than eating ice cream.

Mill's Utilitarianism is a Universalism.  This just means that we must consider the happiness of all people.  This means that it is not enough just to consider consequences for our friends, families and neighbors.  Rather, we must consider the consequences for all humans.  Moreover, we must give equal weight to the utility (net happiness) of all people.  This universalistic dimension of Mill's utilitarianism is indicative of the social justice issues that concerned Mill.

Mill thought that social reform could be motivated by utilitarianism.  In the time in which he lived, he noted that happiness was not possible for everyone because the education systems and other social institutions were terrible.  He wanted to create political change that could make happiness possible for even the lowest classes of people.  He thought that disease could be eliminated through sanitation and education.  Mill also thought that poverty could be eliminated by private charity and public welfare.  He also thought that the higher pleasures of the mind should be encouraged by social institutions such as education.

We can sum up Mill's view in four main theses:

Consequentialism: whether an action is right or wrong is determined by the consequences of that action.
Hedonism: we do seek and should seek happiness.  Utility is net happiness (the happiness that is left over after we subtract out our pains).
Maximalism: a good or right action produces the highest number of good consequences and the fewest number of bad consequences.
Universalism: we must give equal weight to the consequences for all people.

Motive vs. Intention. On the one hand,  Mill thinks that our motive is irrelevant to whether an action is good or bad.  Even if we want to do good, our action can still be morally bad if the consequences are bad.  While the motive is unimportant to determine moral worth of actions, Mill thinks that intention is important to determine moral worth of an action.  Motives may be used to determine if a person himself or herself has moral value, but the action is only good or bad if the consequences are good or bad.  On the other hand, intention is relevant to the morality of an action.  Intention is what a person wants to do by an action.  In other words, an intention is just what consequences a person is trying to achieve by his or her actions.  A motive is a feeling about why I want to do something whereas an intention is the consequences that I hope to bring about by my action.  For example, if I bring in ice cream for all my friends, my intention is to provide my friends with ice cream,  This intention is relevant.  However, my motive is irrelevant; it does not matter if my motive is to make my friends happy or if my motive is to manipulate my friends by buying them ice cream.

Ends in Themselves

A good will is not a means to an end.  It is an end in itself.  Humans, insofar as we are defined by our good will (good practical reason), are also ends in ourselves.  A human is not to be used as a means to an end.  Kant imagines a kingdom of ends, where humans agree to abide by common law.  Because each person can legislate universal law by using his or her practical reason, each person is able to hold power over herself and others in a mutually consenting manner.  This power to legislate universal morality is what Kant calls the autonomy of the will.

Perfect and Imperfect Duties, Hypothetical and Categorical Imperatives

An imperative is the form that a command takes.  Imperatives are a grammatical category of statements.  Examples of imperatives include, "Please don't smoke here.", "Stop being racist.", and "Always act in such a way that your personal rule can be made a universal law."  This last imperative is the categorical imperative.  To say it is categorical just means to say that it is necessary and universal.  We can contrast categorical imperatives with hypothetical imperatives.  A hypothetical imperative is one that we need not follow necessarily and universally.  We only have a hypothetical duty if there is some other goal we have in mind.  For example, if a rational person wants to be happy, then they probably like being benefited by others (rather than have people interrupt their way of life or be harmful towards them).  Kant thinks there is an imperfect duty to benefit others if we want to be happy.  There is not a categorical imperative to perform this action because it pasts the test of the categorical imperative (it is logically possible to universalize a law that says not to benefit other people).  But if we want to be happy, then it seems like the same reasons that we are made happy will also apply to other people.  It is rationally consistent to benefit others if you like to be benefited by others.

There is also a hypothetical imperative to cultivate your own talents and skills.  Hypothetical imperatives lead to imperfect duties.  To say that we have a hypothetical imperative to cultivate our talents just means that we have an imperfect duty to cultivate our talents.  Imperfect duties are neither necessary nor universal.  Perfect duties, however, are necessary and universal.

Just as there are two imperfect duties that Kant talks about, there are also two perfect duties that Kant talks about.  First, there is a perfect duty to preserve your life.  In other words, the categorical imperative would forbid suicide.  If you want to kill yourself because you think it is good for you, then your will is self-contradictory because if you are dead, NOTHING is good for you.  In order for something to be good for you, then you must be alive.  Second, there is a perfect duty to keep promises/never to lie.

Practical Advice from Epictetus

Epictetus's Handbook is a practical guide about how to live your life. In #3, he reminds us not to get too attached to the things and people that we love.  The things we love will not last forever.  He thinks that if we remember this fact and keep it in mind, we will not be sad when things break or people die.  In fact, Epictetus thinks we should think about death and other terrible things every day (#21).  He thinks that reminding yourself about how crappy things could be will help you to feel better about how things are now.  If you want to stop wanting more out of life, just read stuff like the front page of an international news site or a Cormac McCarthy novel.  But don't feel sad about these things!  Only our judgments about things are upsetting.  The things themselves are not upsetting (#5).

If you are going to do something, keep in mind just what kind of thing you are doing (#4).  For example, if you are going to drive on the freeway, you should keep in mind that certain things tend to happen when you drive on the freeway.  Some people drive at speeds close to or faster than 100 mph.  Some change lanes without signalling.  Some don't notice their exit until the last minute and have to swerve over lanes of traffic in order to make it.  When you drive on the freeway, be aware that these are the kinds of things that happen when driving on the freeway.  Control yourself and focus on your own actions.  Do not be upset when others do the things that you probably should expect them to do.  Of course, driving on the freeway is quite different in CA than it is in MN or Austria.

Epictetus encourages self control, endurance and patience (#10).  If a friend is sad, you should 'sympathize with him verbally', but be careful not to share his emotions (#16).  Epictetus also thinks that when someone abuses us or insults us, this cannot actually harm us.  Only our belief that they are insulting or harmful is what harms us (#20).  In fact, a bad act only harms the person who is performing it, since they must be performing it based upon a false belief about what is good or bad to do (#42).  Indeed, this is not a morality designed for judging others.  Epictetus suggests avoiding judgments like, "She drinks too much." or "He bathes poorly." and instead replacing them with, "She drinks a great deal." or "He bathes very infrequently." (#45).  He also thinks that you are not responsible for your wealth or eloquence, so you should not thinks that these things make you superior (#44).  He also reminds us it is better to act based on your own principles rather than to merely talk about your principles (#46). The goal of the Handbook is not to judge others but to fix your own life.  Blaming others is not part of the good life, according to Epictetus.


Epictetus: His Basic Argument

Epictetus's main argument seems to be something like this (cred to Bonnie Kent for this formulation):

1.  If you are to be happy, things have to go the way you want.
2.  People can't control what happens.
3. People can only control what they want.
4. Therefore, people should either want nothing or want things to happen exactly as they do happen.

For more on this argument and possible objections to the argument, follow this link to another educational blog of mine.

The Categorical Imperative: A Test for Maxims

The categorical imperative is not so much a rule about what to do but a rule about how to do it.  In other words, the categorical imperative provides us the form, or structure, of moral judgments.  According to Kant, an action is only good if the personal rule according to which you perform that action can be make a universal law.  In other words, you should only act in a way such that your personal maxim can become a universal law.

The categorical imperative is categorical insofar as it is how we should act at all times.  Contrast this with a hypothetical duty, which we only have if we have some other goal.  Kant thinks that the categorical imperative shows that we have a perfect duty to keep promises and to preserve our own lives.  In other words, you always have a duty not to break promises and not to kill yourself.  Let's see how the categorical imperative shows that we have a perfect duty to do these things.

In order to see if we have a perfect duty to preserve our own lives, we can ask if we could ever universalize a rule according to which we would kill ourselves.  For example, "It is ok to kill myself because it is good for me."  Kant says that it is contradictory to make such a law universal.  If I kill myself, then there is NO good for me.  There can be nothing good for me when I am dead because I am no longer alive to have things be good or bad for me.  Likewise, if everyone were allowed to kill themselves because it is 'good for them', then we would have a similar problem.  There could be no 'good' for anyone if there is nobody to have things be good for them!  Since we cannot universalize a law that condones suicide, then we have a perfect duty to avoid doing that thing.

The same can be said for promise-breaking.  To make a promise is to commit to do something.  You make this commitment to another person, who accepts your promise as evidence of your commitment.  Now if we tried to universalize "It is ok to break promises", then this would mean that nobody must follow through with their commitments.  If people felt like they could break commitments whenever they wanted, then nobody would believe anybody when they make promises.  So making a promise becomes impossible in itself, since making a promise requires that somebody believes my promise and takes my promise as evidence of my commitment.

In the case of breaking promises and committing suicide, rules that support this behavior become logically impossible if the law is universalized.  In the case of benefiting others and cultivating talents, the case is different.  Laws such as "I will not help other people" or "I will not cultivate my own talents" can be followed universally.  The universal application of the law does not preclude the possibility of its fulfillment.  So it passes the first test of the categorical imperative.  We can universalize the rule.  But would a rational person want to live in such a world?  It seems like so long as a  person wants, say either good things for himself or wants to be benefited by the skills and kindness of others, that it is rationally consistent to also do such things himself.  So while we do not have a perfect duty to help others and cultivate our own talent, we have an imperfect duty to cultivate our own talents and to help others.  In other words, there is a hypothetical imperative to perform these actions insofar as we should do these things to meet some goal we have (e.g., happiness).

Kant Vocab

Your will is your practical reason. In other words, your will is what allows you to identify what is good in terms of certain goals (23).

An imperative is the form that commands take. The representation of an objective principle insofar as it demands the will be a certain way is called a command of reason. The form of a command is the imperative (24).

Hypothetical imperatives are commands that must be followed in order to reach some goal (25). Hypothetical imperatives are commands to perform actions as a means to an end.

A categorical imperative is a command that must always be followed because the action is good in itself. In other words, a categorical imperative is a command to perform an action that is good as an end (ibid).

A perfect duty is a universally necessary duty (30).

Imperfect duties are duties that we must sometimes perform (ibid).

Properly speaking, Kant says that true 'duty' is always categorical (33).

There are three practical principles of the will. First, the ground of all duties lies objectively in the form of universality. Second, the end of all rational beings is rational beings. In other words, rational beings are ends in themselves. Third, the will of every rational being is a will that legislates universal law (autonomy of the will).

An end is a purpose or goal.  A means is the way of achieving that goal/end/purpose.

Acting from Duty vs. Merely Acting in Accord with Duty

Kant says that actions only have positive moral value if they are done from duty and not merely in accord with duty. One example that Kant talks about is a shopkeeper who does not overcharge his customers. We can say that this person has a duty to charge a fair price to all customers. Now, if the shopkeeper only does this because he doesn't want to lose business, then he is acting in accord with duty but not out of duty. He is only acting out of duty (or from duty) if he charges a fair price because he knows it is the right thing to do.

Here is another example. You have a duty to preserve your own life. In other words, you have a duty to keep yourself alive. The person who loves life and continues to live because they love life is acting in accord with duty but not out of duty. However, the person who hates life and only continues to live because it is the right thing to do is acting from duty. The person who continues to live because they want to is not doing anything morally good (they are not doing anything bad, either). But the person who continues to live even though they don't want to but because they know it is the right thing to do is doing something morally good.

Kant: The Good Will, Maxims and the Categorical Imperative

The basis of Kant's ethics is a good will.  The good will is the only thing that is good without qualification.  It is also the highest good.  It is good not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.  Compare this with intelligence.  Being smart is good for lots of reasons; it can help to achieve many ends.  But being smart can also be used for bad goals, such as robbing a bank or assassinating someone and getting away with it.  Unlike intelligence, the good will is always good.  It is good not because it brings about some consequences but because it wills correctly.  Actions are good actions if they are actions of a good will.

But how do we tell if an action is an action of a good will?  Well, we text the maxim, or the personal rule according to which a person was acting.  Another name for a maxim is a principle of volition.  The idea is this.  For every action, there is some personal rule that a person is following.  In order to test if this maxim is good, we must use a certain kind of test for this rule.

The test we use is the Categorical Imperative.  The categorical imperative states that one should only act according to rules that can be made into universal law.  For some rules, it is logically impossible to make them a universal law.  For example, if you wanted to make "It is ok to tell a lie whenever you want" a universal rule, this would be logically impossible.  Lying means telling someone falsehoods under the pretense that they are truths.  In other words, lying means telling someone something false under the assumption that they will believe your words anyway.  If everyone lied whenever they wanted to, then nobody would ever believe anyone.  Lying would be impossible because lying requires that the person to whom you are lying believes your lies.

Here is another example.  Say I am in a hurry at Starbucks and I want to cut in line.  So I act according to the maxim, "It is ok to cut in line when I want".  If this rule became a universal law and everyone cut in line whenever they wanted, then lines would cease to exist.  If the rule became universalized, then it would become logically impossible to follow that rule.  The point is not just that it would be an impractical rule to be universalized.  Rather, it would be logically impossible to universalize this rule because if everyone followed it, then following it would become impossible!

Power, Hip Hop and Two Kinds of Claims

In "Positions of Strength", by The Heiruspecs, MC Felix describes a number of positions of power that exist in our society.  Recall that there is a difference between making the descriptive claim that there are these power dynamics in our society and the normative claim that there should be these power dynamics.

Crito: Socrates Obeys

Whereas Socrates adamantly defended his personal lifestyle in Apology, in Crito he is resigned to accept the punishment decided by the jury: death.  Crito, his buddy, has come to Socrates to try to convince him one last time why he should leave the city.  Crito gives four main reasons.  First, he says that if Socrates dies, he will lose a great friend.  Second, he says that if Socrates dies that people will think that Crito was just too cheap to save his friend.  Third, he says that Socrates is betraying his family by letting himself be put to death.  Fourth, Crito tells Socrates that letting himself be put to death is evil and shameful.  Socrates responds to each of these reasons during the course of the dialogue.

First, Socrates says that if he runs away, his friends will be under suspicion by the government and will be in danger of losing their own property.  Second, Socrates says that we ought not listen to the opinion of the majority.  Only the opinion of the few experts is important.  To prove this point, Socrates uses an analogy.  He says that if you want to do physical training, you should seek the advice of a doctor or a trainer.  If you disobey this person's advice, you are likely to end up hurting yourself.  When you disobey a doctor, you harm your body.  But when you listen to bad advice about morality, you harm a much more valuable part of yourself (soul/morality/character).  Third, Socrates says that if he left the city, he would be making his children strangers in a new place.  If he left them behind in Athens, they will have friends of the family to take care of them whether Socrates is dead or alive.  Fourth, Socrates says the right thing to do is to stay in the city and accept his death.  There are three main reasons he gives for this.  He says that he has made a just agreement with the city (rather, he imagines a conversation with the city's laws about whether or not he would be wronging the city by fleeing).  He says that by staying in the city, he has tacitly agreed to obey its laws and accept its rules.  Socrates never left the city except for military service.  He had ample time to leave if he had objected to the rules and laws of the city.  If he disagreed, he either should have persuaded the city or leave.  Socrates did neither.  It also seems like he should be grateful to the city.  If not for the city's laws, his parents never could have gotten married.  The city also provided for his education and helped in his upbringing.  In addition to the tacit just agreement and the principle of gratitude, Socrates also says that the city is to a citizen as a parent is to a child (or like a master is to a slave).  In other words, the city is in a position of superior power over the citizen.  A citizen must accept the punishment of the government just as a slave must accept the punishment of its master.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Socrates on Death

In Apology, Socrates talks a lot about death.  He first says that fear of death is the result of ignorance, since we do not really know if death is an evil or a blessing.  He says that it is better to fear known evils, such as being wicked, than it is to fear unknown things, such as death.  He also says that there is good reason to think that death is a blessing.  Either death is lack of perception or death is a relocation of the soul.  If death is lack of perception, then it is much like a very restful sleep, so it must be good!  If death is relocation of the soul, then one can spend time with interesting people (and even philosophizing), so it must be good!  Socrates says that either way, one cannot harm a good man in life or in death.  Since the only real harm is harm to your virtue (morality), nobody can harm you but yourself.  The only real harm you should worry about is harm to your soul (harm to your virtue/morality).  It is easier to avoid death than it is to avoid being wicked.  So really, if we fear anything, we should fear being wicked.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Counter-Assessment: Free Food!

After the jury finds Socrates guilty and Meletus asks for a penalty of death, Socrates has the option to provide a counter-proposal for his punishment. He begins by saying that he has done a great service to the people of Athens because he was constantly questioning them about their lives and trying to get them to think about important things like virtue and morality. For such a service, he says he should be treated to free meals at the Prytaneum (where people like Olympians were honored). He then says the he will not do himself harm by saying that he deserved punishment. He says even if he were exiled, he would get kicked out the next city for the same thing probably, so he would have to continue wandering. He says he cannot stop asking questions because "the unexamined life is not worth living". He finally says that he could afford a 1 mina fine, although his friends could help him with up to 30 mina. Unsurprisingly, the jury rejects his counter-proposal and they sentence Socrates to death.

The Defiant Defense of Socrates

The Apology of Socrates: A Defiant Defense

  1. No appeals to pity (34c-35c).  It was common practice for defendants to bring family to court to make a show of pity.  Socrates notes this and explicitly rejects this as a strategy for persuasion.  He thinks it is best to appeal to reason than to appeal to emotions.  He also asks his audience to focus on the content of his speech and not his style (18a).
  2. Ridicule of accusers
    1. Why would I corrupt others and thereby risk harming myself? (25e)  Socrates points out that to corrupt someone is to make them wicked.  Wicked people harm those who are close to them.  So why would he knowingly want to make the people around him harmful?
    2. I cannot be harmed by anyone! (30d)  Socrates says that the real harm is to harm your soul, or our virtue.  It is worse to execute a man unjustly than to be executed unjustly.  Meletus is a worse man than him, so he cannot harm Socrates simply by being unjust.
    3. Why don’t the victims of my corruption accuse me themselves? (33d)  Socrates points out that none of those he has apparently corrupted have stepped forward to accuse him of crimes.  Their families have not complained, either.
  3. Appeal to Oracle (21a)  Socrates explains how his friend was told my the Oracle at Delphi that there is no man wiser than Socrates.  This got him started on his quest to try to find someone who was truly wise.  After questioning poets, politicians and craftsmen, Socrates was unable to find someone who possessed wisdom.  He figures that this is why he is so unpopular, but he things of it as a divine quest.
  4. Reminds jury of his divine sign (31d)  Socrates also talks about his divine sign, which is a voice that speaks to him to warn him not to do something.  The voice never tells him what he should do.  It only tells him what he should not do.
  5. I am god’s gift to this city (literally!) (30e-31a) I was placed at this post (28d)  Socrates claims that the gods got him started on his quest to find a wise man, and that he has been sent to Athens to be a kind of gadfly.  His role is to wake people up and make them examine their own lives.  He says that he will be hard to replace unless the gods decide to provide Athens with another gift.  

Euthyphro's Dilemma

There is a philosophical-theological question that has been addressed by many different writers.  The question is whether something is pious (or good or just) because divinity loves it, or is it good for some other reason and divinity only loves is or says it is good because it is good.

Today in lecture, we talked about two possible solutions.

Solution #1 to Euthyphro's Dilemma: What is pious (or good or just) is pious just because divinity says so.Solution #2 to Euthyphro's Dilemma: What is pious (or good or just) is so because it is so. Divinity loves it or says it is good because it is good, but there is some independent reason why it is good.
If there are many gods, they will disagree about what is pious.If there are many gods, they will disagree about what is pious.
There is no reason for morality. If divinity can decide that anything is just, good or pious, then it seems somewhat arbitrary. Also, if morality is entirely contingent upon the will of divinity, then if it turns out that there is no divinity, then there is no morality.Divinity's freedom to decide what is good is limited by an external reason or principle. It seems that divinity is not omnipotent if it cannot decide what is good.
If things are only good because divinity says so, then why is divinity good? Does divinity have to say it is good? Many people think that divinity is good in itself, regardless of any assessment of it.Divinity's independence, or sovereignty, is limited.  Divinity cannot decide that just anything is good.
This solution requires that we commit the naturalistic fallacy. In other words, we ignore the is/ought distinction. Simply put, just because something is a certain way does not mean that something should be that way. For example, if people are racist, that doesn't mean they should be.

Many Definitions of 'Pious' in Euthyphro

Over the course of Euthryphro, Socrates and the title character have a long discussion about what is 'pious'.  Euthyphro begins by giving an ostensive definition, or definition by example.  Socrates rejects this and asks for an abstract conceptual definition.  Euthyphro then says that what is pious is what the gods love.  Socrates that since the gods disagree, some will hate something that others love--making that thing both god-loved and god-hated.  This is a contradiction, so we must reject this definition.  Euthyphro then modifies his definition to include only what ALL the gods love.  Socrates then asks if the gods love it because it is pious or if it is pious because the gods love it.  Euthyphro asserts that the gods love it because it is pious.  Here we have an example of circular reasoning.  To define piety in terms of gods' love and to claim that the gods love it because it is pious is a circular argument.  It is logically valid (If P, then Q.  If Q, then P.  Therefore, P if and only if Q).  Yet we have not actually learned anything about piety.  Socrates then tries to help out his interlocutor and offers up this distinction: piety is a part of justice.  Euthyphro then insists that it is the part of justice that is concerned with taking care of the gods.  Socrates clarifies that most examples of care mean that the thing that is cared for is made better in some way, but surely this cannot be the kind of care with which we provide the gods.  Euthyphro says that to be pious is to care for the gods like slaves care for their master.  Socrates asks what the purpose of our service is.  Euthyphro says that we are to make sacrifice and pray.  Socrates characterizes this as a sort of trade between gods and humans, according to which we sacrifice something and then ask for something in return in the form of prayer.  Socrates then asks if this trade somehow benefits the gods.  Euthyphro says no, there is no benefit, but agrees that the gods are pleased by this trade.  And here we end up back at a previously rejected definition.