Does Informational Semantics Commit Euthyphro's Fallacy

Noûs 40 (3):522-547 (2006)
To commit Euthyphro’s fallacy is to endorse a pair of incompatible explanations, one constitutive and the other causal. Asked to explain the nature of piety, Euthyphro hazards that being pious consists in being an object of the gods’ love. But asked what causes the gods to love what they do, he holds with the commonsensical thought that the gods love pious people because they are pious. As Socrates points out (and for reasons we shall shortly rehearse), Euthyphro cannot have it both ways. To hold that one’s god-belovedness is constitutive of one’s status as a pious person is to rule out its being one’s piety that prompts the gods’ affection. More generally, we commit the fallacy when we hold of two properties f and g both of the following: possession of f constitutes possession of g, and possession of g causes possession of f.
Keywords Causal theories of content  Informational semantics  Euthyphro contrast  Naturalized semantics
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DOI 10.2307/4093995
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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