Euthyphro – Piety

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 November 2016

Euthyphro – Piety

The discussion between Socrates and Euthyphro is one of the most famous Socratic discussions because of the meaning set behind the actions. This discussion is focused on what is the piety or the holiness asked by Socrates to Euthyphro. Socrates appoints Euthyphro to help him understand what piety is as he admits he does not know, in order to help with his case against him. They argue about Euthyphro’s answer that piety is what the Gods love and impiety is the opposite. Socrates then questions which is dear because they love or they love because it is dear.

Socrates challenges to comprehend an understanding of this indefinable concept and uses logic to understand what holiness is as provided by Euthyphro who is acting religious. This paper will show how the concept of holiness emerges from Euthyphro’s three definitions of piety. In addition this paper will suggest why Socrates goal for this discussion. Euthyphro’s three definitions of piety are well used with great examples, but Socrates always tries to shoot them down by trying to have a rejection.

The first definition Euthyphro says is “Piety is doing as I am doing; that is to say, prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, sacrilege, or of any 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, 380 B. C. E. ).

But at once Socrates says “Bear in mind that I did not bid you tell one or two of the many pious actions but that form itself that makes all pious actions pious, for you agreed that all impious actions are impious and all pious actions pious through one form” (Plato, 380 B.C. E. ).

As you can see Socrates is determined to not have piety for anything that is happening at the time. Drawing a line between these particular contradictions is difficult because of cultural differences, values, moral, and religious beliefs within society. Euthyphro’s most important attempt to define piety comes with the suggestion that the pious is what all the gods love. Euthyphro states that “The godly and the pious is a part of the just that is the care of the gods, while that concerned with the care of men is the remaining part of justice” (Plato, 380 B. C. E. ).

Socrates then asks, “The pious is loved by the gods because it is pious, or is something pious because it is loved by the gods” (Plato, 380 B. C. E. ). But since the gods are in a state of discord, and are at odds with each other and therefore have different views on what things are pious and what things are impious. He therefore proves that if an action or a man dear to the gods is pious, but an action or a man hated by the gods is impious then the same things then are loved by the gods and hated by the gods, and would both be god-loved and god-hated, which would make the same things both pious and impious at the same time.

Socrates was a man who wanted his son to know that there is always moral reasoning to everything and that the right way is the correct way. By arguing with Euthyphro he tried to make him understand that no matter who you are or where you come from, you should always do everything because it is morally correct to do it. By Socrates going against every definition of piety he had, I think he made Euthyphro think deeper in himself about the actions played out from him.

Socrates had an intense belief in the importance of virtue, he believed that if man was able to gain the wisdom that attended virtue then he would no longer do wrong simply because humans do not choose to do the wrong actions. Socrates felt that the first step in becoming virtuous was to acknowledge one’s own ignorance and rid him of it. He encouraged men to be more apprehensive with their self-development and less obsessive in obtaining material wealth..

However, Socrates expresses that virtue is not a goal that can be taught, but that it must be learned in each individual’s own experience. To me he meant that not only by experiencing the good and the bad will a human understand how to make things right. Piety to me is knowing how to make the moral situation correctly. I think that by someone wanting to do the right thing it can make other do them as well. Being piety knows that one must always abide by the rules given to them no matter who you are and where you might be. This does not pertain to

every one is the world we live in because loopholes are always around and someone always knows how to use them when they need to. Religion has, is, and always will be a point of conflict for people for one that not everyone prays in the same way and believes in the same kind of religious beliefs. We are always free to believe or disbelieve in what we want to, and this leads to an inability for us to universally agree on a single kind of doctrine. But religion is exactly that, a doctrine and everyone follows one, whether they know it or not, people follow it and some live by it.

A doctrine is something that defines a person’s life by dictating the choices that person’s chooses and tends to live on. God’s will can be someone’s doctrine the same way a person’s own set of morals can. Following this logic, a religious person is simply someone who follows a predetermined set of ideals, God’s. With this in mind, it can be concluded that while an atheist chooses to follow his own set of morals, the religious man simply chooses to follow an already existing set.

I think a good example of following the rules are like traffic violations. The violations set on the road are to keep everyone from getting hurt and letting others get away with anything they can. This is an example of treating everyone equally and not letting no one get away with something just because of the their race, religion, money or even fame. The problem that we face in the world we live in is that people who do have money, fame or some kind of high importance are let of a lot easier than others how are struggling in life.

Money and fame plays a major role in the world that we live in and it is sad that everyone has to stand by and see it with no options of saying what they might want to say to be heard. Reference Page Ackah, K. (2006). Plato’s euthyphro and socratic piety. Scholia: Studies in Classical Antiquity, 15, 17-34. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/docview/211628972? accountid=32521 EUTHYPHRO. (1982). World Philosophy, 115. Mosser, K. (2010), A Concise Introduction to Philosophy. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 26 November 2016

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