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…
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 ...
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(“Socrates and Euthyphro Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words”, n.d.)
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(Socrates and Euthyphro Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words)
“Socrates and Euthyphro Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/miscellaneous/410614-socrates-and-euthyphro.
According to Plato, he argued that what is right or the piety is defined without any reference to the gods. This argument elicits a contemporary criticism of the purpose of morality and God’s command rooted in the Euthyphro dilemma. The perception that Gods will is the basis in determining morality is referred to as theological voluntarism which most Christians adopt (Cooper 34-36).
In fact, the third definition pinpoints the dilemma between Socrates and Euthyphro in finding out the exact definition of piety in terms of a definite situation (manslaughter charge). Hence, the statement that “the pious is loved by the gods because it is pious, and that it is not pious merely because it is loved by the gods” underlines the core idea of piety worked out by Socrates out of the Euthyphro’s reasoning.
So begins a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro discussing mainly, the topic of holiness. Euthyphro is a dogmatic man who insists on following the set rules. He has come to court because he is pressing charges against his father on accounts of murder.
The following analysis will briefly engage a discussion of the highlights of the work as well as seek to draw a level of inference with regards to what, if any, final definition of holiness/piety can be drawn from the back and forth discussions of these two men.
Socrates could have avoided death by choosing life in prison or exile but he refused claiming that, these alternatives will prevent him from examining the world around him and see how to make the world a better place. He argued that with the absence of his examined life would; there was no value of living.
Euthyphro, on the other hand, takes the side of teacher and explains to Socrates the meaning of piety. In his attempts to define piety as requested by Socrates, Euthyphro committed the following 3 mistakes or logical fallacies.
To begin with, in his
Socrates is surprised and shocked when he learned that Euthyphro is bringing a charge against his blood father. However, he is impressed by the fact that Euthyphro is very ready to play his role on the issue despite the fact that it means taking action against his father.
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