In the Euthyphro by Plato, Socrates and Euthyphro debate the concept of piety and how it relates to the common man. Piety, or justice, is a topic that has challenged men since the beginning of time, as it is subjective to many outside forces including personal beliefs, culture and ethics. In this paper I will discuss how Socrates provoked Euthyphro in a debate to challenge Euthphyro’s views on piety as well as explain my own views on the subject and offer a counter debate using a Socratic response.
The story finds the two men meeting on the steps of the courthouse, and stopping to engage in a discussion about the suits they are involved in. Euthyphro is a plaintiff in an action for murder, a suit that he has brought against his father for the neglect and death of a dependent that was a murderer. Socrates is a defendant in a suit for impiety. Socrates, being a great philosopher, engages Euthyphro in a discussion about the concept of piety, where Socrates questions Euthyphro on what piety is and what is impiety. Euthyphro offers three definitions for what he believes piety truly is, however Socrates is dissatisfied in Euthyphro’s effort to explain his definitions.
In the first definition Euthyphro states that “Piety is doing as I do” (Gutenberg). Euthyphro considers himself to be a noble and virtuous man for his actions in prosecuting his father, and a fine example of piety. Socrates implores him to look further and find a definition for piety, not just examples. He explains to Euthyphro “Remember that I did not ask you to give me two or three examples of piety, but to explain the general idea which makes all pious things to be pious” (Gutenberg). Socrates is looking for a standard for one to consult to determine if an act is pious or not.
The next definition Euthyphro gives Socrates is “Piety is that which is loved of the gods” (Gutenberg). That which is loved by one God is not always loved by another, and therefore there is no standard...
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