Kristen B M
PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor Marc McGrath
February 11, 2013
Euthyphro – Plato
The Euthyphro is a tale of Socrates and Euthyphro. They meet by chance and end up discussing what is holy and what is piety. Socrates tries to get answers from Euthyphro but because of his unwillingness to learn, they end back at the beginning of their discussion. In Euthyphro, we see the three distinct definitions of piety and holiness that is given by Euthyphro and how Socrates refutes them. This paper will give those definitions and my own argument as to what Socrate’s goal was in the Euthyphro, as well as my own definitions as to what piety and holiness is.
In the Euthyphro, Socrates is the protagonist of the story and has been charged with impiety and corrupting the youths of Athens. While he going to court, he meets Euthyphro, who has charged his father with murder. Euthyphro is a self-proclaimed expert in all things that deal with holy matters. He says that, unlike most people, he has "exact knowledge" of the views of the gods on what is pious and impious (top of page 9). As was his nature, Socrates feigns his own ignorance when he questions Euthyphro on his expertise in holy matters, in the ruse of getting help for his own upcoming trial. Socrates is a master at getting people to expose their “expert knowledge” of a subject by simply asking moral questions. The concept of holiness is prominent because of the matter at hand. Euthyphro has charged his father with manslaughter. After learning of Euthyphro’s suit, Socrates begins to ask Euthyphro a series of questions in which he asks Euthyphro to define for him what piety is because he feels that this may be an impious thing.
The first definition Socrates asks Euthyphro is “And what is piety, and what is impiety?” (Plato,2008). Euthyphro tells Socrates that “Piety is doing as I am doing; that is to say, prosecuting anyone who is guilty of...