p.p1 font-kerning: none} span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre} Euthyphro Plato’s dialogue

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Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro opens with the setting of the court of King Archon of Athens where Socrates has been called on the charges of corrupting the youth of Athens because of his impious and novel views. These charges were levelled against him by a young man called Meletus. It is here that he meets Euthyphro who has come to pursue a case against his father for unintentionally killing a servant, who himself had killed a house slave in a fit of drunken rage. When Euthyphro further inquires about the charges against Socrates, he explains that he has been charged for neologism or making new gods and deny the existence of the old ones. Socrates flatters Euthyphro  by suggesting that Euthyphro must be a great expert in religious matters and in things pious and impious if he is willing to persecute his own father. He urges Euthyphro to instruct him and to teach him about piety which might help him in his trial against Meletus. He first asks Euthyphro if piety in every pious action the same and if impiety is always the opposite of piety to which Euthyphro replies in affirmative. 
The dialogue follows socratic method in which Socrates and Euthyphro engage in a discussion with Socrates asking questions to help draw out ideas.

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Argument 1:
Euthyphro says that piety is prosecuting anyone who is guilty of murder, sacrilege or any crime irrespective of the person’s relationship with you and to not persecute them is impiety. He claims to give proof by telling the legend of Zeus, who is considered by men to be the best and most righteous of Gods and imprisoned his father Cronus when he devoured his brothers.
However, Socrates further presses him for the definition of piety and not just give examples of pious acts. He also tells him that there are many other acts of piety apart from persecuting those who are guilty.

Argument 2:
Euthyphro then defines piety as that which is dear to the gods and impiety as which is not dear to them. Socrates then clarifies that pious things/actions and impious things/actions are polar opposites of one another. He then says that gods also have enmities and differences. However, these are in matters of the just and unjust, good and evil, honourable and dishonourable and not other matters such as matters of arithmetic, magnitude such as weight which can be resolved by measuring. This is true for men as well who quarrel because of the same reasons. If there was no difference of opinion in matters of ethics and religion above mentioned, then there would be no quarrels among gods as well as men. He further says that every man loves what he considers noble, just and good,  and hates the opposite of it. He also says that gods fought with one another which has been represented in works of many artists and in temples as well. Then there are things which are hated by the gods and loved by the gods. Then the things considered pious will be impious as well. This is in contradiction to Euthyphro’s statement that pious actions/things and impious actions/things  are polar opposites of one another. Socrates then modifies the definition to say that the thing which all gods hate is impious and what all they love is pious or holy; and what some of them love and others hate is both or neither.

 Argument 3:

Question arises that whether a thing a pious because it is loved by gods or pious thing is loved by gods because it is pious. Socrates explains this by saying that thing which is carried is in this state of carrying because it is carried, a thing is visible because it is seen and not seen because it is visible .This suggests any state of action is due to the previous action. For example,  a thing is in a state of becoming because it becomes and not becomes because it is becoming. This can be applied to love as well. The state of being loved follows the act of love and not vice versa.
A thing is loved by gods because it is holy.
A thing which is dear to the gods is so because it is loved by them.

Thing which is holy is same as that which is dear to the gods, and is loved by the gods because it is holy, then that which is dear to gods would have been loved to imply dear to gods. So, if a thing a dear to gods because it is loved by them, then it is holy because it is loved by the gods.This contradicts the statement that a thing is loved by gods because it is holy.Euthyphro’s definition tells us nothing about the nature or essence of piety, but only about a quality of piety: it is something the gods love. It confuses a characteristic of piety with its definition.

We call a carried thing “carried” simply because it is carried, not because it possesses some inherent characteristic or property that we could call “carried”. Being carried is merely a state and not an essential characteristic of the thing carried. Similarly with piety, if defined as “what is loved by the gods”; it is loved for some reason, not just because it is loved, so that one loves it, by itself, does not make an action pious. The loving must follow from recognition that an action is pious, not the other way around. Thus the piety comes before the liking both temporally and logically, yet in Euthyphro’s definition it is exactly the other way around. Therefore Euthyphro’s third definition is severely flawed.


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