Euthyphro Dialogue Essay examples

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In the dialogue Euthyphro (Cahn and Markie), Plato presents an argument against the divine command meta-ethical theory. While the argument is presented against the predominantly pantheistic Greek religions, the argument can be easily applied to the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. The dialogue starts off with the two main characters: Euthyphro and Socrates. Socrates has been indicted for corrupting the youth of Athens and Euthyphro is indicting his father for murdering a day-labourer who killed one of his servants through neglect. Socrates acknowledges that Euthyphro must be very knowledgeable on the subjects of piety and holiness which are integral to the Greek judicial system and that by learning from Euthyphro, Socrates might better…show more content…
If this were the case, the gods would not be the ultimate source of what is holy, and thus not the source of moral authority. Since this is entirely in opposition to the divine command theory of meta-ethics, this cannot be the case, which leaves Socrates and Euthyphro with the idea that objects are holy because the gods love them. It is at this point in the dialogue that Socrates turns the argument to justice. The claim is made that everything that is holy is just and everything that is just is holy; a claim with which Euthyphro again agrees. Socrates presents the following analogy: while we can be afraid of many things, and that fear can be shameful and that to be ashamed is to also be fearful, he asserts that being afraid doesn’t necessarily mean that one should ashamed of that fear – that fear is broader than shame. Socrates then applies this analogy to holiness and justice - that all things that are holy are just, but not all things that are holy are necessarily just: justice is thus broader than holiness. This suggests that there is a portion of justice that involves what is holy and another portion that is uninvolved with holiness. When asked to differentiate between these two mutually exclusive components, Euthyphro says that the component of justice that is concerned with holiness is a matter of ministering to the gods and the component that is not concerned with holiness is ministering to people. This

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