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Euthyphro - Essay Example

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Euthyphro Name University Euthyphro Plato’s Euthyphro is set as a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro, the namesake of the play. Socrates has been called to court on account of charges pressed against him by Meletus who claims that by inventing new gods and not respecting the state recognized gods, Socrates is corrupting the youth of Athens…
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Because their opinions about holiness are at odds, Socrates who is portrayed by Plato as a person who is eager to engage in discourse with the people on Athens asks Euthyphro what his concept of holiness is so he might learn from how Euthyphro defines it. Says Socrates, “Tell me then, what is the pious, and what the impious, do you say?” (5e) Initially, this is how the concept of holiness emerges in the dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro and it soon takes a prominent position in the dialogue as it becomes the main topic of their conversation as they wait to be shown into court for their respective cases. In response to Socrates’ question, Euthyphro provides him with three basic definitions by which he thinks holiness is defined. Every time Euthyphro gives Socrates a definition for the concept of holiness, Socrates gives him an argument to refute it and thus Euthyphro is forced to provide another definition. Finally, when Euthyphro gives the third definition and Socrates refutes it, Euthyphro storms off annoyed with Socrates for disagreeing with all his attempts to define what is holy. First, he says “I say that the pious is to do what I am doing now, to prosecute the wrongdoer, be it about murder or temple robbery or anything else, whether the wrongdoer is your father or your mother or anyone else; not to prosecute is impious.” (5e) Thus holiness is defined by prosecuting those people who are blasphemous and go against religion. Second, he says “Well then, what is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious” (7) Thus, holiness is defined by what the gods like and mutually consent. Lastly, Euthyphro tells Socrates that “I would certainly say that the pious is what all the gods love, and the opposite, what all the gods hate, is the impious.” (9e). Therefore, piety is what lies within the bounds of actions the god’s love and those that the god’s hate, become automatically unholy. Socrates refutes Euthyphro’s definitions at each stage by providing elaborate counter arguments of his own. To Euthyphro’s first definition that holiness is punishing people who go against religion, Socrates says that this is a definition that excludes a variety of holy things that have nothing to do with persecuting blasphemous people and thus an incomplete definition that doesn’t hold on various counts. To Euthyphro’s second definition that holy things are those that are approved by the gods, Socrates says that this definition is also flawed because the gods are often fighting and there is seldom a time they all agree on one thing, thus no deed is holy according to this definition. He says “Then according to your argument, my good Euthyphro, different gods consider different things to be just, beautiful, ugly, good, and bad” (7e) and that “The same things then are loved by the gods and hated by the gods, and would be both god-loved and god-hated… And the same things would be both pious and impious, accord­ing to this argument?” (8) Euthyphro is disgruntled but has no choice but to agree with Socrates. Lastly, Socrates refutes Euthyphro’s statement by asking him to consider an important statement “Consider this: Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (10) and he asks Euthyphro to run a parallel comparison between the preceding statement and the fact that “that which is being carried is being carried because someone ... Read More
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