Euthyphro essay

Submitted By Dapo-Adeyemo
Words: 917
Pages: 4

Justice and Piety are two closely related ideas, with different existing beliefs about their relationship. Through logical analysis, Philosophers have deduced the only valid relationship between Justice and Piety to be that Piety is a part of Justice. Some people however refuse to acknowledge this and maintain that Justice and Piety are Coextensive, or that Justice is a part of Piety. This paper will attempt to convince such people of the flaws in their beliefs, and show them that the only viable relationship is that Piety is a part of Justice. In order to effectively analyze and understand the relationship between Piety and Justice, we must first define Piety. In The Euthyphro, several definitions are put forth for Piety, but the most compelling one to me is this. “Speaking freely, however, I can tell you that if a man knows how to say and do things acceptable to the gods in prayer and sacrifice, those things are holy.”(Plato, 17).Euthyphro’s definition works, however I would add a few things to make this definition clearer and more conclusive. Pious things are any prayer and/or action that is pleasing to all gods. Now we must define Justice. The closest Euthyphro came to defining justice in The Euthyphro was when he said it was “ministering to men” (Plato, 14). Following this logic I would define Justice as any action seen as fair, right, or acceptable in the Eyes of men. With this definition we can already see clear differences between the two ideas. With these definitions in mind, let’s look at the idea of Justice and Piety being coextensive. 1st of all we know that what is pious is always accepted as Just. What is acceptable to all gods is never disputed by men as being unjust. No god of any religion would command their followers to commit unjust actions, and still be considered Pious. This shows that Piety is a part of Justice which agrees with the proposed relationship here. However, this relationship also suggests that Justice is simultaneously a part of Piety. This is where this theory on the relationship falls short. The fact of the matter is that not all Just acts are Pious. You might disagree with the possibility of there being an act that is just but not pious, but they exist and they all fit into the definition of being just, but not into the definition of being Pious. An act can be acceptable, and fair in the eyes of men, but this does not make it holy. For an act to be Holy/pious, it should be a form of sacrifice or prayer that is pleasing to or a service to the gods. One example of an act that is Just but not Pious is taxation. It is Just to pay your taxes. Paying taxes is considered fair and right in the eyes of man. It is repaying your government for their services to you. Paying taxes, however, is not holy. It does not service the gods in any way, nor does it please them. They may agree that the action is Just but that does not make it Holy. There are several other examples of such actions. Paying salaries, for example, is just but not holy. You must compensate employees for their work, and not doing so is seen as unjust, and you will be punished under the law. Paying salaries to employees however is not holy. Not paying salaries would however be both unjust and impious.
The same arguments can be made against those that say that Justice is a part of Piety. If…