PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning Instructor: Daniel Haynes April 22, 2013
Euthyphro – Plato Explain how the concept of holiness emerges in the dialogue and why it takes a prominent position in the conversation between Socrates and Euthyphro.
“Euthyphro answers that there is no difference of opinion, either among gods or men, as to the propriety of punishing a murderer. Yes, rejoins Socrates, when they know him to be a murderer; but you are assuming the point at issue. If all the circumstances of the case are considered, are you able to show that your father was guilty of murder, or that all the gods are agreed in approving of our prosecution of him? And must you not allow that what is hated by one god may be liked by another? Waiving this last, however, Socrates proposes to amend the definition, and say that 'what all the gods love is pious, and what they all hate is impious.' To this Euthyphro agrees.”
But the pious or holy is loved by the gods because it is pious or holy, which is equivalent to saying, that it is loved by them because it is dear to them. Here then appears to be a contradiction,--Euthyphro has been giving an attribute or accident of piety only, and not the essence. Euthyphro acknowledges himself that his explanations seem to walk away or go round in a circle, like the moving figures of Daedalus, the ancestor of Socrates, who has communicated his art to his descendants.
Present the three definitions that Euthyphro uses in his response to Socrates, and then explain how Socrates refutes each of Euthyphro’s definitions. 1) Euthyphro answers that there is no difference of opinion,...