The Definition of Piety in Plato's 'Euthyphro'

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The Definition of Piety in "Euthyphro" Introduction 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. 1st Definition of Piety and Socrates' Response As Euthyphro is essentially a self-righteous man, he asserts that piety is to do as he is doing, "that is to say, prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, sacrilege, or of similar crime whether he be your father or mother, or whoever he may be that makes no difference; and not to prosecute them is impiety" (Plato, 5e). Euthyphro's definition of piety contains many implications, the biggest of which is that Euthyphro considers himself to be a good example of piety in action. It is Euthyphro's identification of himself with piety that alarms Socrates and compels

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