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Socrates and Euthyphro - Essay Example

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As Socrates and Euthyphro argue over the definition of piety, we will examine them to find out as to what facts are relevant in this dialogue of Euthyphro.
Euthyphro, a priest comes to the court to prosecute his own father, on charges of killing the former’s servant. In this context Socrates (who is in the court because he has been accused of impiety) wanted to find out as to what is really meant by the term piety (or morally good), since Euthyphro, by his own version, is doing an act of piety by defying all conventions and prosecuting his own kin, his father. So Socrates starts by asking Euthyphro the definition of piety, to which Euthyphro says his very act of coming to the court to prosecute his father in order to fight for justice, is piety (first definition). However, Socrates disagrees and tells him, that the act is certainly pious, but does not define the term piety. To explain this in simpler terms we can say take any sentence as an example. When asked to define the term ‘bread’, the sentence ‘this basket contains bread’, may be a correct statement, but certainly does not define the term ‘bread’.
Realizing his mistake Euthyphro then comes forward with the second definition, where he says piety is an act loved by the gods. Here again Socrates intervenes, and tells him that there may be instances where the Gods may disagree amongst themselves. Then the act cannot be pious, since there is no clear consensus between the Gods. The third definition that Euthyphro then puts forward is that acts of piety are loved by all the Gods. After this definition, Socrates puts forward the question “Is what youre doing pious because it is loved by the gods, or do the gods love what youre doing because what youre doing is pious?”(Cahn, ibid). Here lies the dilemma, that is, if we accept certain act to be pious just because God commanded them to be so, then the distinction between good and bad becomes the ...Show more


In the dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro, we are met with the ‘Euthyphro dilemma’ that asks, “Is the pious loved by the Gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the Gods?” (Cahn, 23-25). In simpler terms it means that, is morally good…
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Socrates and Euthyphro essay example
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