65. Euthyphro’s Dilemma and the Relationship Between God and Goodness

St. Thomas Aquinas repopularized the work of the Greeks, including Plato and Aristotle, leading those in modern times to examine what he might have thought about Euthyphro's dilemma.

What is the relationship between God and justice? Is something just because God wills it, or does God will it because it is just? This is the essence of what has been termed Euthyphro’s dilemma. I introduced this in my previous post 64 in the context of Socrates questioning a young, arrogant man, named Euthyphro, on the nature of piety in the eponymously named dialogue by Plato.

In that dialogue, Euthyphro, Socrates posits the question as follows:

Consider this: Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?

– Plato, Euthyphro 10a

We can really substitute the words “justice” and “goodness” for the word “piety” to frame the question in more modern terminology. In other words, is something good because God wills it, or does God will it because it is good?

And lest we think that this discussion is not relevant for today, consider the following line by rapper Jay-Z from the song “No Church in the Wild”:

Is pious pious ’cause God loves pious? Socrates asked ‘Whose bias do y’all seek?’1

What is the significance of this dilemma for us today and why did Jay-Z reference it?

In Euthyphro, Socrates asked Euthyphro to define for him the nature of piety. Five times Euthyphro tried and five times he failed to satisfy Socrates. At one point, Euthyphro posited that piety is “what is loved by all of the gods.”

Euthyphro’s Dilemma Restated

Socrates pointed out that the fact that something that is “loved” tells us nothing about the nature of the thing loved, only its condition – that it is loved. Euthyphro never did give an adequate definition of piety. To find out why, please read post 64.

The focus of this article is not to try to unpack the meaning of piety, but to discuss the relationship between God and goodness and justice. This is the operative question for us today.

The 18th century German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz restated the argument as such:

It is generally agreed that whatever God wills is good and just. But there remains the question whether it is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just; in other words, whether justice and goodness are arbitrary or whether they belong to the necessary and eternal truths about the nature of things.3

Along with Descartes and Spinoza, Leibniz was one of the first rationalistic philosophers.4 Whereas the medieval scholastic philosophers attempted to work out the relationship between faith and reason – such as St. Thomas Aquinas drawing on the work of Aristotle – the rationalists emphasized human reasoning as the primary source of knowledge. As such, it emphasized deductive reasoning by a priori means as opposed to religious revelation, experience, emotion, or mysticism.

With the advent of the rationalistic philosophers, we get a cleaving of the concepts of faith and reason that I discussed in the introductory post 1. Although these philosophers weren’t hostile toward God, they eliminated from their epistemological tool box religious revelation as a primary source of knowledge. Descartes was the first to do this. Apart from this, he claimed to be an orthodox, practicing Catholic all of his life. Leibniz was a Lutheran Protestant who carried the ball down the field a bit by stating that morality, to answer the question above, was independent of God. Spinoza was born Jewish, but eventually came to hold a more naturalistic, some would say pantheistic, view of God.

Notice that how once the rationalistic door was opened by Descartes, the theology of God started to degrade from orthodox Catholicism to a theology of a God with weakened sovereignty to a naturalistic God. This downward slide makes perfect sense because once we raise reason above revelation, then our view of God has to change to accommodate that.

The other great shift that occurred because of the rationalists was a seismic one from metaphysics to epistemology as the philosophical emphasis in the West. The results of this were cataclysmic to say the least. By focusing on the tools in the tool box rather than the house that is being built, the house never gets built. With the dethroning of theology as the queen of the sciences and placing reason there in its place as an idol, it only makes sense that philosophers would move away from ideas of a more transcendent nature, i.e., metaphysics, to more immanent ones centered around man and his thinking.

By doing this, Western civilization eventually painted itself into a dark corner, finding itself today in a cul-de-sac of confusion and hopelessness. The philosophical shift was sudden with Descartes, but the bad fruit took several centuries to ripen into the poisonous end product that we are compelled to consume today. Consider the three above philosophers: They all believed in God and still included Him in their worldviews, but as time progressed, philosophical ideas eventually trended toward agnosticism and atheism. The wounded God of rationalism would eventually die and fade away.

The Hubris of Bertrand Russell

Consider the following quote by 20th century philosopher Bertrand Russell:

If you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are then in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not good independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.4

It is not just Russell’s writings that interest me, but his disposition toward God. With people like Russell and other 20th century atheists like Christopher Hitchens, there is defiance in their posture vis-a-vie their Creator. The rationalists of the 17th century who grew up without adequate parental oversight became the rebellious teenagers of the 20th century. Thinkers like them were clearly hostile toward God and Christianity, which tells me that their disagreements over Christianity were more than philosophical – they were personal. Thus, their hypocrisy is exposed by which they claimed, as philosophers, to follow the truth wherever it may lead.

Socrates’ question – Euthyphro’s dilemma – then has served several purposes, from a prod to a rationalistic inquiry to a club used by atheists to attack Christianity. Nevertheless, from Socrates to Leibniz to Russell, the question in Euthyphro’s dilemma is still a question that needs an answer regardless of by whom or how it is asked. In order to do so, we must go back to revisit St. Thomas Aquinas, the origin of this controversy, from a modern perspective.

Thomas Aquinas, the “Dumb Ox”

Thomas Aquinas was born around the year 1225 near Aquino, Italy. His name in Italian is Tommaso d’Aquino. He is one of only thirty-seven people having the title “Doctor of the Catholic Church,” a designation recognizing a person as having made a significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their writings. It doesn’t mean that their writings are infallible, just that they particularly serve to advance the cause of Christ and His Catholic Church.5

He is specifically called “Angelic Doctor” because of his purity and because of his extensive development of a theology of angelic beings. Thomas was born into a powerful southern Italian noble family. At the age of nineteen, he desired to join the Dominican order but was temporarily prevented by his family who had planned for him to become an archbishop or an abbot, not insignificant positions by any means. His family kidnapped him and held him prisoner for seventeen months, even hiring a prostitute to seduce him at one point. Thomas resisted temptation and remained chaste the rest of his life, stating that after his temptation, two angels girded him with a mystical chastity belt.6 Thomas would continue to have mystical experiences for the rest of his life.

Eventually, when his family failed to “persuade” him, he became a Dominican friar. Thomas began his education in Italy and in 1250, he ended up at the University of Paris, where he taught and began his doctoral studies under his friend and mentor, Albert the Great. Thomas was large and lumbering, a quiet fellow who was particularly modest. He was given the moniker “dumb ox” by his classmates. When Albert the Great realized Thomas’ brilliance, he said:

We call this young man a dumb ox, but his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world!

– St. Albert the Great

St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle

Aside from the birth of St. Thomas Aquinas, another significant event that occurred in the 13th century was the rediscovery of Aristotle. His complete corpus was discovered and translated into Latin in the middle of the 13th century.7 The operative question was what the Catholic Church was to do with such knowledge. There were those who accepted Aristotle’s account of the natural world as complete. There were others who rejected Aristotle outright. Then there were those like St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas who took the more moderate position of accepting and integrating Aristotle with Catholic theology but without violating the latter. It was largely St. Albert who set off down this road, bringing Aquinas with him.

St. Thomas Aquinas spent the rest of his life studying the writings of Aristotle and the like and working out one of the most thorough integrations of faith and reason that had been made until that time and has not been equaled since. Twelve hundred years after St. Paul first preached the Gospel in Athens, this integration of faith and reason would reach maturity with St. Thomas and his publication of his Summa Theologica. Many consider the Summa the high-water mark of Western thinking. What better man to undertake such a task – synthesizing the complexity of Aristotle with faith in the divine – as one who was both an intellectual and a mystic, for the very life of Thomas Aquinas was a personification of the integration of faith and reason.

What does all of this have to do with the theme of this essay, considering that St. Thomas never really directly addressed Euthyphro’s dilemma? The answer lies not so much in what St. Thomas said, but in the subsequent negative reaction to St. Thomas by other theologians and philosophers. It was this reaction and controversy concerning Aquinas’ teachings that eventually opened the door to the modern age. History would have been a lot different if philosophers and theologians would have continued to build upon Aquinas, making corrections when necessary rather than opposing him to the extent that they did. The West would look a lot different today.

The Backlash Against Aquinas

For a person who would eventually become an esteemed doctor of the Catholic Church, the reaction to what eventually became known as Thomistic thinking was sure and swift. Just three years after Aquinas’ death on March 7, 1274, the University of Paris published a list of 219 philosophical and theological theses and decreed that the teaching of such theses would result in excommunication. This event came to be known as the Condemnation of 1277.8

The Condemnation did not identify anyone by name, but it was widely thought that St. Thomas was the target. It was a reaction to Thomas Aquinas’ reintroduction of Aristotle and its overenthusiastic reception by some of the arts teachers at the University of Paris. It wasn’t that the Church was against reason and philosophy – this is simply the medieval stereotype – but it was that some at the University of Paris thought that St. Thomas went too far in the other direction.

The humorous thing about this is that those who accuse the medieval thinkers of being intolerant and closed-minded fail often to see the extreme intolerance of leftist groupthink in modern universities. This has manifested itself in a draconian cancel culture that far exceeds anything found in medieval universities. It appears that the Condemnation of 1277 did not really change how business was conducted at the University of Paris to any great extent, except for the fact that a new emphasis in doctrine was noticeable afterward.

St. Thomas Aquinas never directly gave his opinion about Euthyphro's dilemma but we can make some guesses based on comments about the teachings of Aristotle.
St. Thomas Aquinas

The Intellect Versus the Will

After the Condemnation, an emphasis on divine omnipotence was clearly seen at the University of Paris. Consider the following quote:

The Condemnation gives particular emphasis to the notion of divine omnipotence. The notion of God’s ‘absolute power’ – his ability to act beyond the limits of nature as discerned by reason – is central to the project of reigning in the pretensions of natural human reason.9

– Professor Thomas Williams

Thomas’ critics believed that he overemphasized the intellect at the expense of the will in his theology in two ways. First of all, Thomas constructed a highly intellectual paradigm in describing God. Such a system could be construed as constraining God in a way, for how can an omnipotent, immense God be so defined and constrained within a human intellectual system?

The second way Thomas was seen as overemphasizing the intellect was in the particular way he defined the relationship between the will and the intellect. For Thomas, the intellect informs the will. The intellect is the adjudicator and makes the decision to act, whereas the will is just a slave of the intellect. Consider the following quote by St. Thomas:

Since good as perceived by the intellect is the object of the will, it is impossible for God to will anything but what his wisdom approves. This is as it were, His law of justice, in accordance with which His will is right and just. Hence, what He does according to His will He does justly: as we do justly when we do according to the law. But whereas law comes to us from some higher power, God is a law unto Himself.

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 21, first article reply to Obj. 2

We can see from this that even though Aquinas did not address Euthyphro’s Dilemma directly, he did inadvertently give his answer to it.

But because of the post-Aquinas shift of emphasis to the will, a new theological movement arose that declared the will, rather than the intellect, to be supreme.

Duns Scotus and the Rise of Voluntarism

Duns Scotus was born around 1265 in Scotland. He too became a Doctor of the Church, his title being Doctor Subtilis or the “subtle doctor” because of his nuanced reasoning.10 Scotus is well known for his subtle changes in philosophy. He is also known for his rigorous philosophical analysis and use of technical concepts. In Catholicism, he is most associated with his doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Unlike the Dominican Aquinas, Scotus became a Franciscan monk. The orders that these men joined are significant in that they had an influence on how each developed their philosophy. Like Augustine, the Franciscans emphasized the will over the intellect and knowledge and as such, ordered their lives toward love and charity, love being an act of the will.11 The Dominicans, Aquinas being the most prominent example, emphasized the intellect. Of course, we have to remember that these are general characteristics, for among the Franciscans and Dominicans there was much diversity of thought as well as spirited argument.

With the emphasis on will, though, the Franciscans tended to have a more radical view of free will than the Dominicans. With Aquinas, the will was simply a handmaiden of the intellect, whereas with Scotus and the Franciscans, the will was primary, which is the very definition of what is known as voluntarism. According to this, the will can act independently despite the best advice from the intellect. It is like a client who receives informed advice from his attorney to not do something but does it anyway. Maybe the fact that the majority of diets fail can be explained by voluntarism.

Theological Voluntarism – Divine Command Theory

Scotus applied these voluntaristic principles to God to the extent that he believed that God’s “absolute power” extended to everything that wasn’t a contradiction.12 God is absolutely free to work toward whatever purposes that He decrees for His creatures and is under no obligation to them except that all of His actions must comport with justice. Since God cannot contradict himself, His intellect supports His willful decisions to achieve those ends.

In the context of Euthyphro’s dilemma, we can start to see on which side Scotus falls. This voluntaristic view of God is also called the divine command theory. Scotus’ view of natural law contained a much smaller subset of moral truths compared to Aquinas’ view. According to Scotus, natural law truths include only those moral precepts that are self-evidently true.13 For example, in regard to the Ten Commandments, the first three commandments concerning the preeminence of God that obliges us to worship only Him fall within this category.

Like the rest of the Ten Commandments, most moral truths fall outside the category of self-evident natural law. All of these truths are completely subject to the divine will. The second part of the Ten Commandments are completely willed by God, and as such He is free to revoke or replace them. For example, instead of the commandment to honor one’s mother and father, God could have easily decreed us to honor our first cousins, or He could have decreed both commandments or neither.14 All of this puts Scotus definitely on the side of “something is good and just because God wills it.”

Duns Scotus and Human Freedom

Since humans are made in God’s image, there are parallels between God’s freedom and ours but, of course, in a far more limited sense. In humans, just like in God, it is the will that is predominant over and above the intellect. The will moves itself; it is not moved by the intellect. Scotus would say that what makes a person good is not our moral judgments but our actions. This, I think, is a strong argument for his position. I can think about the goodness of giving to the poor, but unless I act on it, it is just a thought in my mind. God rewards deeds, not thoughts about deeds.

Again, this all fits with the Franciscan perspective emphasizing love expressed through action. St. Francis was a man of action, giving everything he had to the poor and living an active life ministering to people and animals. The Franciscans would concur with St. James who wrote in the New Testament to “be doers of the Word and not merely hearers.”

In regard to sin, if the will were merely an executive function of the intellect, then sin would simply be a matter of ignorance or unsound reasoning rather than a willful choice. This is another strong point as well. The 19th century was rife with social theories that if people were just given the right education, the ills of society would improve. Hindsight tells us that that is not true. Both the ancient Greeks and the Christians taught that the key to developing virtue was to practice virtue daily. Simply learning about virtue was not enough.

Duns Scotus argued what would later be termed divine command theory.
Duns Scotus

Other Proponents of the Divine Command Theory

There are many variations of the divine command theory, some stronger than others. Another medieval thinker, William of Ockham (c. 1287-1347), went even further than Scotus in describing the tenets of divine command theory. He stated that “God could command us not to love Him and even to hate Him.”17 Another medieval philosopher, Pierre d’Ailly (1351-1420) described divine command theory even more strongly:

God does not command good actions because they are good or prohibit evil ones because they are evil; but . . . these are therefore good because they are commanded and evil because prohibited.18

Divine command theory spilled over into early Protestantism with Luther and being a staunch supporter of these ideas. Luther claimed, in regard to God’s will, that there is “no cause or reason that can be laid down as a rule or measure for it.”19 I have always wondered if the emphasis on the arbitrariness of God that was popular in the seminaries at the time that Luther attended could have fueled the fire of his emotional instability and his spiritual insecurity. After all, a God that one day desires to save Luther could on the very next decide to throw him into Hell for no good reason.

John Calvin represents the high-water mark of divine command theory among the early reformers. Below is one statement to that effect:

Everything which [God] wills must be held to be righteous by the mere fact of His willing it.

– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin had difficulty reconciling the free will of man with divine fiat. As such, his view of salvation was reduced to the simplicity of the doctrine of predestination, not nuanced by taking into consideration the free will of man. Somewhere between Scotus and Calvin, the doctrine of the free will of man got thrown to the curb. There was soon a backlash within Christianity to Calvin’s double predestination which included the idea that God predestines people to Hell for the simple fact that He wills it. This doctrine has been responsible for the insecurity and consternation of many in Protestantism.

More recent proponents of divine command theory include Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), and American philosopher Robert Adams (b. 1937) who holds what he terms as a “modified divine command theory.”20 Adams believes that we must explain morality in terms of divine decree, i.e., it is moral because God decrees it. And even though it is theoretically possible for God to decree something that is immoral, it is unthinkable because it goes against nature. In this way, Adams uses his modified divine command theory to attempt to preserve the sovereignty of God and eliminate moral arbitrariness at the same time.

God Commands It Because It Is Right

Juxtaposed against divine command theory is the other horn of Euthyphro’s dilemma. Whereas the other view above tends to be held by more religiously orthodox people, the view that God commands it because it is right tends to be held by a wider variety of thinkers. It has no specific name like “divine command theory;” rather, it is just called the “God commands it because it is right” theory. This theory states that God is beholden to a fixed standard of right and wrong that is independent of Himself, and that is where the controversy lies. One of the most interesting places to find debate on this subject is in early Muslim philosophy.

Some say that one of the earliest proponents of this theory was Ibrahim al-Nazzam (c. 775-845), a brilliant Muslim theologian, scholar, author, poet, historian, and jurist.22 He was born in Basra and died in Bagdad. He claimed that God was powerless to engage in lying or injustice.23 Since we only have fragments of his writings, it is difficult to get the larger context.

The famous Muslim philosopher Averroes (1126-1198), also called Ibn Rushd, was born in Spain and died in what is present day Morocco. Averroes was probably the greatest Islamic thinker who had ever existed. He was a polymath, philosopher, theologian, astronomer, and physician. His claim to fame was his comprehensive commentaries on Aristotle, which eventually helped fuel the ascendancy of Aristotle among Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics in the 12th century. St. Thomas called him simply “The Commentator.” Averroes wrote over 20,000 pages of texts. In one sense, this is a shame because his work on Aristotle eclipsed his own work in philosophy – formidable in its own right.

Similar to the scholastics, Averroes maintained a distinction between faith and reason, but subordinated religious truth to philosophy, thus making him a rationalist. He was a blend of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism who sought, like the scholastics, to integrate philosophy with Muslim thought.

Averroes’ Theory on Good and Evil

Averroes did work in the area of value theory, which concerns the nature of good and evil.24 The primary question in value theory is determining the common character in all things that we call “good;” Averroes’ particular contribution was in attempting to answer the question of whether “good” is objective or subjective. Averroes took an objectivist position at a time when the Islamic world had embraced subjectivism.

This subjectivism, known as “theistic subjectivism” or “ethical voluntarism,” stated that good and evil, justice and injustice are defined entirely by divine fiat as revealed in the sharia law. Goodness has no intrinsic character within itself that would make it good. Ethical acts are good simply because God wills it so.25 The appeal was made to the authority of the Koran, which became the sole authority and foundation for all of classical Islamic jurisprudence.

Against these strong prevailing headwinds, Averroes posited an objectivist position. He wasn’t alone in this, for there were other schools of thought that had similar positions, but he and they were certainly in the minority. He believed that the existence of objective values is self-evident, whereas subjectivism leads to absurdity. For example, if subjectivism were true, then the belief in the one God and the worship of Him would simply be a superficial matter of convention with no intrinsic meaning. He states:

But they say: ‘As for Him [God] who is not under obligation and does not come under prohibition of the Law, in His case there does not exist any act which is just or unjust, or rather all His acts are just and nothing is unjust in itself. . . . This is extremely disgraceful, because in that case there would be nothing which is good it itself and nothing which is evil in itself; but it is self-evident that justice is good and injustice is evil.

Averroes definitely disagrees with what we would call the divine command theory, and I think he makes some of the best arguments against it. He does state that there is a self-evident, objective standard of goodness in the universe, and seems to imply that the nature of goodness is found within itself. Being a Neoplatonist, it would not be a stretch for him to imagine a Platonic “form of goodness.” If this form of goodness were independent of God, then we have a version of the “God commands it because it is right” side of Euthyphro’s dilemma. It doesn’t appear, though, that Averroes intended to take his theory much further than to establish that goodness is objectively true.

Of course, there were and are many other proponents of the “God commands it because it is right” theory. A notable example is English philosopher and emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford, Richard Granville Swinburne (b. 1934).26

Let’s return to visit our old friend Leibniz. How did he answer his own question above? He placed morality as logically anterior to God’s will, equating oral truths to unchangeable mathematical truths. Thus, God could not will evil since it would be a logical contradiction.

Averroes argued against divine command theory.

Divine Simplicity as the Answer to Euthyphro’s Dilemma

What is the answer, then, to Euthyphro’s dilemma? The answer is to be found in the doctrine of divine simplicity. Consider the following quote from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

God is radically unlike creatures and cannot be adequately understood in ways appropriate to them. God is simple in that God transcends every form of complexity and composition familiar to the discursive intellect. One consequence is that the simple God lacks parts. . . . There is also no real distinction between God as subject of his attributes and his attributes. God is thus in some sense identical to each of his attributes, which implies that each attribute is identical to every other one. God is omniscient, then, not in virtue of instantiating or exemplifying omniscience — which would imply a real distinction between God and the property of omniscience — but by being omniscience.27

In dealing with God, Socrates’ question in the Euthyphro dilemma is really a false question. The false premises Socrates used to generate that argument were that there was a multiplicity of gods that were divided among themselves and had limitations. If there is goodness, then it must exist outside of the pantheon or must be something arbitrarily determined by them. There can be no other explanation. The other thing that we do as humans is to project our own struggles with good and evil and between our minds, emotions, and wills upon God. We humanize God psychologically as the Greeks did.

Therefore, in God there are no parts or divisions. St. Thomas says the following about God:

. . . all perfections existing in creatures divided and multiplied, preexist in God unitedly.

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, First Part, Q. 13, Article 5

There are two corollaries that follow from God’s simplicity. First of all, any goodness in the universe preexists in God as a unity. If He is identical with His attributes, then He is goodness, not just an exemplar of it. Goodness outside of God is contingent on His goodness. Thus, the idea that God refers to a standard of goodness outside Himself is absurd, making Euthyphro’s dilemma false.

Secondly, since God has no parts, then all of his attributes are not only identical with His essence, but are in some sense identical with each other. There is no “competition” between his attributes, for example, opposing His justice with His mercy. We tend to pit His attributes against each other in an attempt to understand Him. How could a loving God send people to Hell? God doesn’t just “will” goodness, but wills goodness out of His own nature. This refutes the divine command theory. There is no disparity between God’s sovereignty and His goodness.

The discussion of Euthyphro’s dilemma throughout history suffers from a rationalistic approach. To get balance and clarity, we must turn to Catholic mystics such as St. Teresa of Avila. The mystics testified to the fact that the more unified they became with God, the more they beheld His simplicity, with no contradictions or disparities among His attributes. God is one and not a composition of parts.

The converse is also true. The farther we remain from God, the more we will see Him as divided within Himself because we are at odds with ourselves.28

God is truly and absolutely simple.

– St. Augustine, De Trin. iv, 6, 7

The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.

– St. Teresa of Avila

Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you!

Dr. Ron Gaudio explains the various views of goodness, including divine command theory and the idea that God commands it because it is right. He also discusses St. Thomas Aquinas' view of Euthyphro's dilemma and touches on Aquinas' similarities with Aristotle.

Deo Gratias

Featured Book:

In examining Euthyphro's dilemma, we can look to Duns Scotus and his divine command theory.
John Duns Scotus, Selected Writings on Ethics, by Thomas Williams


  1. From the song “Church in the Wild” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s first collaborative album Watch the Throne, 2011. The above lyrics are attributed to Jay-Z.
  2. Koukl, Greg, “Euthyphro’s Dilemma,” Stand to Reason, https://www.str.org/w/euthyphro-s-dilemma-1
  3. G.W. Leibniz stated, in Reflections on the Common Concept of Justice, c. 1702
  4.  Descartes (1596-1650), Leibniz (1646-1716), and Spinoza (1632-1677), c.f. An Introduction to Philosophy an Online Textbook by Dr. Dr. Philip A. Pecorino, Chapter 5 Epistemology, Section 1 Rationalism.
  5. Rice, Fr. Larry (2015). “Doctors of the Church?” usccb.org. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  6. “Why we call him ‘The Angelic Doctor'” Posted by Father Ryan Erlenbush on The New Theological Movement, January 28, 2013
  7. “Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages,” The Great Courses, taught by Professor Thomas Williams, pp. 48-52, The Teaching Company, 2007
  8. Ibid., pp. 75-76
  9. Ibid., p. 76
  10. “John Duns Scotus – The ‘Subtle Doctor’ – Philosopher of the Month” by the OUP Philosophy Team, OUPblog by Oxford University Press, September 15, 2019
  11. “Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages,” pp. 79-80
  12. Ibid., p. 76
  13. Ibid.
  14. Williams, Thomas, “John Duns Scotus”The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  15. James 1:22
  16. “Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages,” p. 77
  17. Osborne, Thomas M. “Ockham as a Divine-Command Theorist.” Religious Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, 2005, pp. 1–22. JSTOR
  18. D’Ailly, Pierre. Questions on the Books of the Sentences 1.14; quoted in Wainwright 2005, p. 74, quoting Idziak 63–4; see Wainwright 2005, p. 74 for similar quotes from Gerson.
  19. Luther, Martin (1525), On the Bondage of the Will
  20. Pojman, Louis; Rea, Michael (2008). Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, p. 558
  21. Ibid., pp. 558-559
  22. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Ibrāhīm al-Naẓẓām”Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Apr. 2020
  23. Wolfson, Harry (1976). The Philosophy of the Kalam, p.579
  24. Hourani, George F. “Averroes on Good and Evil.” Studia Islamica, no. 16, 1962, pp. 14-15
  25. Ibid., p. 16
  26. Swinburne, Richard (1993). The Coherence of Theism, pp. 209-216
  27. Vallicella, William F., “Divine Simplicity”The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  28. “St. Teresa’s Teaching on the Grades of Prayer.” by Jordan Aumann, O.P., Catholic Culture


Aquinas, Thomas, On Law, Morality and Politics, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; 2nd edition (June 1, 2003)

Averroes, On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy, Independently Published, February 20, 2019

Ogden, Stephen R., Averroes on Intellect: From Aristotelian Origins to Aquinas’ Critique, Oxford University Press (June 22, 2022)

Williams, Thomas, The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy),  Cambridge University Press; Edition Unstated (December 9, 2002)

Williams, Thomas, John Duns Scotus: Selected Writings on Ethics, Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 16, 2017)

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