Kant’s Solution to the Euthyphro Dilemma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Are our actions morally good because we approve of them or are they good independently of our approval? Are we projecting moral values onto the world or do we detect values that are already there? For many these questions don’t state a real alternative but a secular variant of the Euthyphro dilemma: If our actions are good because we approve of them moral goodness appears to be arbitrary. If they are good independently of our approval, it is unclear how we come to know their moral quality and how moral knowledge can be motivating. None of these options seems attractive; the source of moral goodness unclear. Despite the growing literature on Kant’s moral epistemology and moral epistemology the question remains open what Kant’s answer to this apparent dilemma is. The Kantian view I attempt to lay out in this paper is supposed to dissolve the secular version of the Euthyphro dilemma. In responding to this dilemma we need to get clear about the source or the origin of our moral knowledge: Voluntary approval or mind-independent moral facts? Projectivism or detectivism? Construction or given? I believe that all these ways of articulating the problem turn out, on closer inspection, to be false alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1228
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Anti-realism
  • Constructivism
  • Kant
  • Metaethics
  • Realism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Kant’s Solution to the Euthyphro Dilemma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this