True in Word and Deed: Plato on the Impossibility of Divine Deception

Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (2):193-214 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
A common theological perspective holds that God does not deceive because lying is morally wrong. While Plato denies the possibility of divine deception in the Republic, his explanation does not appeal to the wrongness of lying. Indeed, Plato famously recommends the careful use of lies as a means of promoting justice. Given his endorsement of occasional lying, as well as his claim that humans should strive to emulate the gods, Plato's suggestion that the gods never have reason to lie is puzzling. Our solution to this puzzle centers on the fact that, unlike humans, the gods are self-sufficient. Although lying is good for the souls of neither humans nor gods, human interdependency necessitates lies that will prevent material harms and maintain a just order. In contrast, the self-sufficiency of the gods makes it impossible for them to benefit from deception.
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2020-05-28
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #48,698 of 50,121 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
21 ( #27,981 of 50,121 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.