Euthyphro – Plato Holiness is a central theme in the Socratic dialogue with Euthyphro. Socrates has taken up the ironic role of a student in the narrative as he attempts to gain knowledge of what holiness entails, from Euthyphro. Socrates meets with Euthyphro as they meet at a court in Athens. He seeks to gain knowledge on holiness, such that, he can use the insights in his trial against Meletus. Earlier, Meletus had charged him for impiety in a court. This justifies the importance that has been placed on the idea. In the ensuing dialogue, Euthyphro serves different definitions of holiness to Socrates. However, each of these is questioned, casting ambiguity over his supposed knowledge. In his first attempt, Euthyphro defines holiness as …show more content…
& Jowett, 2013). Socrates refutes this definition since he views that the gods do not need to be assisted by mortals. In his final attempt, Euthyphro defines holiness as an exchange between the gods and human beings. The gods receive sacrifices from us, while we they grant our prayers in exchange. In response, Socrates posits that this perspective implies correlates to the prior argument on the gods’ approval. He states that if holiness is gratifying to the gods, it is ambiguous as seen in the argument concerning what the gods approve, and the influences behind them (Plato. & Gallop, 1997). From the dialogue, it is my understanding that Socrates posits that there is no universal understanding of holiness. In that respect, holiness may be understood once our elaborate and true beliefs or arguments have been defined and proven through logic. This is seen from the inconclusiveness that characterises the end of the dialogue. This instance implies that the dialogue has failed at defining holiness. The irony in Socrates arguments’ highlights that; ideas have to be proven before acceptance. This holds irrespective of who posits them. In my view, holiness refers to the state of being good to all. It involves practicing the universal ideas of good, such as, kindness and respect. Socrates would respond by questioning what the universal ideas of good are. In that respect, he would probably argue that different societies have different perceptions of good. For example,
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At the core of Socrates’ argument is the need to break down the definition of holiness into smaller coherent characteristics. Socrates uses a series of question that are consistent with Euthyphro’s argument to ensure that he [Euthyphro] offers a consistent flow of definitions of the word holy.
If it were the exact definition, only Euthyphro would be pious. He said that Euthyphro did not understand the difference between a definition and an example. Next, Euthyphro says that piety is found in things that are dear to the gods (7a). Socrates again rejected Euthyphro’s definition of piety. The Greek gods were anthropomorphic; therefore, another may despise what would be dear to one god. This definition offered was not distinct. Finally, Euthyphro said that what is pious is what loved by the gods (9e). However, Euthyphro can’t answer whether something is pious because it is loved or it is loved because it is pious. He can’t conceive the difference between cause and effect. It is in the Euthyphro that Socrates begins his defense of his actions and principles to the reader. A priest can’t give him a concise answer as to what is religious; therefore, how can anyone else, especially one less religiously guided than a priest, accuse him of blasphemous actions?
Socrates helps Euthyphro to give meaning to the word ‘piety ', and this serves to bring a new meaning to the respect to the divine beings and help in the explanation of the whole context of the divinity in the society. In this manner, there is the need to create a clear definition and help Euthyphro in getting ideas that he can use to teach Socrates to answer the resulting question about the piety. This is to enable Socrates to have a string defense against the charge of impiety and help in tackling the challenges that he faces in the society. The story and the relationship between Socrates and Euthyphro arise when Socrates is called to court to answer to the charges of impiety by Meletus, (Plato et al, 1927). In the courts, Socrates meets Euthyphro, who comes to the courts to prosecute his father who is a murderer.
However in Plato’s Euthyphro, it can be argued that Socrates plays a similar role. In the Euthyphro, Socrates discusses piety in general and what makes things and people pious. Socrates claims he wants to learn more on the subject so that he may better defend himself against the treasonous charges against him. In a way, Euthyphro represents the traditional Athenian way of thinking. He believes in and supports all of the gods and does not submit to Socrates’ prodding of the subject, although he does walk away from him in frustration at the end of the dialogue. However it can safely be said that most Athenians would agree with Euthyphro’s opinion of the gods and to disagree could most certainly be punishable by law, as Socrates was. Socrates’ search for the definition of piety is a difficult one that tests Euthyphro’s patience and ultimately leaves the characters and the reader without an answer. Every time Euthyphro proposes an answer, Socrates is quick to counter it with some thought. Interpreting Socrates’ tone and meaning here is important. Some may see Socrates to be quite demeaning in these instances, almost teasing Euthyphro because he claims to be so pious yet he cannot even define the word. In this way, similar to Aristophanes’ Clouds, Socrates plays a subversive role in the Euthyphro.
In Plato's dialogue, 'Euthyphro', Socrates presents Euthyphro with a choice: `Is what is pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved [by the gods]?'
Socrates and Euthyphro cross paths one day at the courts of Athens. At the time, Euthyphro was there to prosecute his father for murder. Socrates takes the opportunity to ask Euthyphro what the meaning of piety is. In this paper, I exam the issue at hand, how Socrates uses his question to doubt Euthyphro’s thesis, and give an explanation as to what this question means for someone who maintains that God is the origin or foundation of morality.
Greek philosopher Plato’s account of the end of fellow philosopher Socrates’ life in The Trial and Death of Socrates includes a plethora of philosophical theories and ideas, but the one that stands out the most is none other than what is known as the Euthyphro Paradox. Found in the “Euthyphro” section of the book, Socrates brings up the idea of what is actually considered pious, or moral, by asking what exactly makes those things pious in the first place. More specifically, Socrates asks Euthyphro: “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 11).
In the excerpts from Plato’s dialogue, Socrates asks Euthyphro “Is what is holy holy because the gods approve it, or do they approve it because it is holy? (Socrates, pg. 52)”. Socrates, seems to want to learn the nature of holiness but produces a contradiction of the question “what is holy” when Euthyphro responds with “what is pleasing to the gods is holy, and what is not pleasing to them is unholy (Euthyphro, pg. 52”. Socrates tells Euthyphro “ Come, now, and let us scrutinize what we are saying (Socrates, pg. 52)”. Socrates begins to asks Euthyphro for definitions, clarifications, and implications based on what has already been stated.
Socrates was a moral philosopher who was accused of impiety and was about to be tried for a crime, the nature of which no one seemed to understand. The trial and death of Socrates has four dialogs known as the Euthyphro, the Apology, the Crito, and the Phaedo which describes the process of Socrates’ controversial and insightful trial that raises the questions about human morality. Within the story we learned that the relationship between morality and religion might not be as clear-cut as some might think, Socrates forces the witnesses of his trial as well as ourselves to come to conclusions which result in a paradox that conflicts with the individual beliefs of his audience. In the event in which, Socrates poses a question to himself and Euthyphro, an attempt to answer the question "What is piety?" It has a specific tie to the events in “The Trial and Death of Socrates”, for Socrates had been accused of impiety and was about to be tried for the crime of heresy. The Euthyphro dialogue was written twenty-four centuries ago, and its conclusion is devastating for the whole idea that holiness and morality are very well connected. The idea that, “if God does not make something good by commanding it, but rather instead identifies that which is good, what measurement of morality does he use to make this judgment?” If something is right because god commands it, then it follows that something would be just as right if God instructed differently. If god declares that it is right to
Plato's "Euthyphro" introduces the Socratic student both to the Socratic Method of inquiry and to, or at least towards, a definition of piety. Because the character of Euthyphro exits the dialogue before Socrates can arrive at a reasonable definition, an adequate understanding of piety is never given. However, what piety is not is certainly demonstrated. Euthyphro gives three definitions of piety that fail to mean much to Socrates, who refutes each one. In this paper, I will present Euthyphro's definitions along with Socrates' rebuttals. I will also show that Socrates goal in the dialogue is two-fold: 1) to arrive at a true definition, and 2) to exercise his method of teaching/inquiry. At the conclusion of this paper, I will give my own definition of piety and imagine what Socrates might say in response.
Throughout his life, Socrates engaged in critical thinking as a means to uncover the standards of holiness, all the while teaching his apprentices the importance of continual inquiry in accordance with obeying the laws. Socrates primarily focuses on defining that which is holy in The Euthyphro – a critical discussion that acts as a springboard for his philosophical defense of the importance of lifelong curiosity that leads to public inquiry in The Apology. Socrates continues his quest for enlightenment in The Crito, wherein he attempts to explain that while inquiry is necessary, public curiosity has its lawful price, thus those who inquire must both continue to do so and accept the lawful consequences
Socrates says "you did not teach me adequately when I asked you what the pious was, but you told me that what you are doing now, prosecuting your father for murder is pious (Plato, 10) Socrates wants to know what piety is "through one form" (Plato, 10). He does not want to know which things or actions are pious, but rather what piety itself is. One cannot simply define something by giving examples so this definition does not satisfy Socrates.
Socrates asked Euthyphro about the definition of piety and impiety. Euthyphro attempted a couple of times to answer Socrates’ question, and he finally defined piety as “the pious is what all the gods love, and its opposite, what all the gods hate is the impious” (Reeve and Miller 58). Then, Socrates responded to Euthyphro by asking him a question which was also the challenge; Socrates asked, “is the pious loved by the gods because it’s pious? Or is it pious because it’s loved?” (Reeve and Miller 58). This question not only gives Euthyphro a challenge to his definition of piety, but it also challenges the theists’ view of commands of God. In Socrates’ question, there are two interpretations about the commands of God. One interpretation is the divine command theory, this theory is that whatever god’s commands equal to the moral goodness; “wrong acts are wrong because god prohibits them, and good acts are good