euthyphro and socrates Essay

Words: 812
Pages: 4

Good vs Evil??
Evelyn Jenkins
Instructor Jon Stern
Phi208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning
February 10, 2014

The concept of holiness emerges in the dialogue as Socrates meets up with man of religion, Euthyphro, outside of King Archon’s court. Euthyphro is described as a religious mystic due to the fact that he has made prophecies that came true after many laughed at him when he described these ideas to others. Euthyphro intends to charge his own father with murder, where the possible outcome could be death. Euthyphro uses the examples of doing what the gods’ do- what Zeus did to Cronos, and Cronos to Uranus. Socrates feels that Euthyphro is very intelligent, and would not seek such a charge if he was not so well informed on piety and impiety. Socrates, himself is being tried for impiety, and what better person than Euthyphro, to teach Socrates what is piety and what is impiety. The next part of this assignment is what caused me to read, re-read, and re-read again this story, as I became confused, then more confused, as to what Euthyphro was trying to define to Socrates. Does he really ever give Socrates the definition of piety and impiety? At first Euthyphro explains that “What I am doing is pious.”, as he is talking about prosecuting a murderer, his father. But throughout this explanation Socrates turns the tables on Euthyphro, claiming that Euthyphro has yet to prove his father’s actions even constitute an actual murder. Socrates gives Euthyphro another chance to explain the definition, as he feels that was not a valid explanation due to Euthyphro ended up doing nothing more than contradicting himself. Euthypho’s next attempt to define what Socrates is asking, is more what Socrates is looking for, and somewhat more understandable than the, “it is what I do” response he previous tried to convey. Euthyphro states, “Piety, then, is which is dear to the Gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them.” Socrates now brings up that Euthyphro has already spoke about the Gods and their disagreements among themselves as to what may please one God may not please another God, what is dear to one could possibly not be dear to another, and what may displease one God would please the next. With Gods that have many disputes with one another, Socrates again does not have to refute what Euthyphro says, because again Euthyphro refutes himself with his own definition. On his third attempt Euthyphro suggests,” that what all Gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate is impious. Socrates refutation is clearly said to the effects of, just because you love something holy does not explain why that is holy, only that whatever it is, is loved. Being holy because something is loved by all gods still does not tell you what that something is, or why it is holy. As I read many times through the dialogue, I could not figure out what the argument was originally. Did he not just want a definition of piety and impiety? Was