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Socrates on Question of Piety

Categories: Socrates

Socrates is simply asking questions to get a straight answer from Euthyphro, which he is unable to do. When asked, “what is piety? ” Euthyphro answers “Doing as I do”. He thinks he is doing the pious thing by bringing his father up on charges of impiety. In his words, he is saying prosecuting anyone guilty of murder, no matter who they are . Socrates , basically is not entertained by this response, because it is not an answer. When asked again “what is Piety? ” Euthryphro responds with, “ What is dear to the Gods is pious and what is not dear to them is impious”.

Socrates asks” “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious?

Or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? Euthyphro is contradicting himself. That which is dear to the gods is dear to the gods because it is first loved of them, not because it is dear to them. But the pious or holy is loved by the gods because it is pious or holy.

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Which is the same as saying that it is loved by them because it is dear to them. His explanation is going in circles. When asked again, Euthyphro responds, “Piety is knowing how to please the Gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifice” Socrates responds by saying that it is a way of doing business between the gods and men.

You ask the gods what you can do and they tell you what they want you to do.

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Euthyphro has failed to show what pious is. I believe Socrates goal in the dialogue was to change his mind about prosecuting his father and to determine whether Euthypro’s definition of piety or impiety was sufficient enough to prosecute his own father for murder and to clear himself of his indictment.

The features of the dialogue that led me to believe this was when Socrates asked, “Are you able to show your father guilty of murder or that all the gods are agreed in approving of our prosecution of him. Then says to Euthyphro” If you had not certainly known the nature of piety and impiety, I am confident, you would not have charged your father with the murder” Euthyphro, then hurries away , I am thinking to save his father from being tried for murder. If Socrates knew the nature of piety and impiety he may have been able to clear himself of Meletus and his indictment.

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Socrates on Question of Piety. (2018, Aug 24). Retrieved from

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