Euthyphro's View Of Piety

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“There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair” (Albert Einstein, circa. 1954). Einstein’s rigid views of morality echo Plato’s criticisms found in the dialogue Euthyphro (Moral Philosophy, Selected Readings: Second Edition). Plato speaking as his long-time mentor Socrates attempts to coerce a true definition of the word pious from the central character Euthyphro in order to help him better understand his predicament. The two men meet outside the king-archon’s court as they await hearings on varying grievances; Euthyphro is prosecuting his father on the grounds of allowing a man to die by his inaction, as Socrates is being indicted for making innovations in religious matters. Euthyphro recounts the events to Socrates noting …show more content…
Euthyphro first concludes that “the pious is loved by the gods, and the opposite, which all the gods hate, is impious” (Plato, 173), Socrates main criticism of this point is that the language seems rather ambiguous and that it provides no true clarity, eluding that piety is an inherent quality of a deed or action rather than a cause of an action. Euthyphro’s interpretation of piety evolves as it is noted that an action “is loved then because it is pious, but it is not pious because it is loved” (Plato, 173). This quote is then reinforced by a second related point asserting that the pious action “because it is loved by the gods it is being loved and is dear to the gods” (Plato, 174). Socrates bases his criticism of these statements on the grounds that they contradict one another offering that “the one is of a nature to be loved because it is loved, the other is loved because it is of a nature to be loved” (Plato, 174). Both men agree that an action can be loved by the gods because it is pious, however Socrates conclusions appear sound as he reasons that Euthyphro’s interpretation of piety is flawed and that an action is not deemed pious simply because it is loved by the

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