Understanding the euthyphros religious beliefs

It is of particular interest in relation to the fate of Socrates inasmuch as he has recently been charged with impiety and is about to be tried before the Athenian court to determine his guilt or innocence of the crime attributed to him. Because he felt quite sure that the Athenian people in general did not understand the real nature of either piety or impiety, Socrates asks Euthyphro to answer the question "What is piety? He wants to see if Euthyphro is as wise as he claims to be, and if he is not, Socrates will expose the shallowness of his claim.

Understanding the euthyphros religious beliefs

Why did this block occur?

It is of particular interest in relation to the fate of Socrates inasmuch as he has recently been charged with impiety and is about to be tried before the Athenian court to determine his guilt or innocence of the crime attributed to him.

Because he felt quite sure that the Athenian people in general did not understand the real nature of either piety or impiety, Socrates asks Euthyphro to answer the question "What is piety?

He wants to see if Euthyphro is as wise as he claims to be, and if he is not, Socrates will expose the shallowness of his claim. Euthyphro has the reputation of being a wise person, a diviner, and a soothsayer.

As a teacher, he gives instruction on moral and political matters, as well as the practical problems of everyday living. The discussion that is carried on between Socrates and Euthyphro takes place on the porch of King Archon. Both Socrates and Euthyphro are involved in matters of a legal nature.

Socrates has been accused of impiety and is facing a court trial. Euthyphro is the plaintiff in a forthcoming trial for murder.

Socrates asks who it is who is being charged with this crime. He is surprised and shocked to learn that Euthyphro is bringing this charge against his own father. The circumstances bringing this about have a direct bearing on the case.

It appears that a poor dependent of the Euthyphro family had killed one of their domestic servants. At the command of Euthyphro's father, the guilty person had been bound and thrown into a ditch.

Messengers had then been sent to Athens to inquire of the interpreters of religion concerning what should be done with him. By the time these messengers had returned, the criminal had died from hunger and exposure.

Euthyphro's father was, at least to some extent, responsible for the offender's death, and this was the basis for charging him with the crime of murder.

Socrates is impressed by the fact that Euthyphro is willing to perform his duty in the matter even though it means taking action against a member of his own family.

Without any further discussion of the case involving Euthyphro's father, Socrates is anxious to pursue inquiry concerning the nature of piety since this is directly related to the fact that Meletus has accused him of the crime of impiety.

Ethics Study Guide: Euthyphro

Accordingly, he addresses this question to Euthyphro, "What is piety? Although admitting that Euthyphro is right in not allowing personal relationships to stand in the way of performing his duty, Socrates is not satisfied with the answer that has been given to his question. An example of the virtue of piety is not equivalent to a definition of that virtue.

Euthyphro has given but one example, and even though he defended his statement by mentioning that certain of the Greek gods have acted in a similar manner, Socrates insists that a proper definition of piety must be sufficient to include all instances of that virtue.

Euthyphro's statement has not been adequate for this purpose. Nevertheless, Socrates insists that, inasmuch as Euthyphro has brought a criminal charge against his own father, he must have known the nature of impiety or he would have been unable to decide that his father was guilty of it.

Once again he urges Euthyphro to tell him what piety is. If he can obtain a satisfactory answer to this question, it will enable him to know whether the charge that Meletus is bringing against him is a well-founded one.

In reply, Euthyphro advances another statement. He says, "Piety is what is dear to the gods and impiety is that which is not dear to them. It is not clear what makes anything dear to the gods, and besides, there is the question of whether that which is dear to some of the gods is dear to all of them or only to some of them.

Euthyphro then insists that piety is that which is pleasing to all of the gods.

(Dem. 43 §57) Euthyphro dismisses the astonishment of Socrates, which confirms his overconfidence in his own critical judgment of matters religious and ethical. In an example of Socratic irony, Socrates says that Euthyphro obviously has a clear understanding of what is pious or holy (τὸ ὅσιον to hosion) and impious or unholy (τὸ. (Later in the dialogue Socrates appeals to the mythological picture as a premise in one of his arguments, not because he believes it however, but because Euthyphro does, and Socrates is trying to expose the inconsistencies in Euthyphro’s beliefs.). We become educated and gain knowledge that feeds our souls and we start to have different desires and beliefs about our world and the way things should be. Socrates has an understanding personality trait in which he chooses to see it all instead of deeming someone intolerant he deems them ignorant because they do not know what else they can.

He feels sure they all agree that murder is wrong. Socrates then points out that the circumstances under which killing takes place makes an important difference concerning the moral quality of the act.

The same is true with reference to the motive that was involved. It is quite evident that so far the discussion has not produced any satisfactory answer to the question concerning the nature of piety.

To approach the subject in a different way, Socrates asks Euthyphro if people who are pious are also just. Yes, says Euthyphro, but at the same time he recognizes that it is not true that all just persons are pious.

Socrates then wants to know if piety is a part of justice, and if it is, of what part does it consist? Euthyphro replies that piety is that part of justice that attends to the gods, just as there is another part of justice that attends to men.

This, too, is unsatisfactory because we do not know what "attends" means.

Understanding the euthyphros religious beliefs

When applied to some things such as dogs, horses, and men, it implies some way of making them better. When applied to gods, it cannot have this meaning since there is no respect in which men can make the gods better than they are.

At this point, Euthyphro states that there are various ways in which men can minister to the gods, but he does not have the time to point them out.

Understanding the euthyphros religious beliefs

Socrates still insists that he does not know what piety is, and certainly Euthyphro has not revealed its true nature.Socrates’ Conception of Piety: Teaching the Euthyphro JOHN HARDWIG University of Tennessee understanding of piety—piety is moral conduct and nothing more—is consider important—like piety and religious obligation—will confer power and influence.

So, Author: John Hardwig. Socrates’ Conception of Piety: Teaching the Euthyphro JOHN HARDWIG University of Tennessee anyone in the developed world today really hold beliefs about piety like Euthyphro’s?) To make matters worse, Plato did not even know understanding of piety—piety is moral conduct and nothing more—is.

Nevertheless, Euthyphro believes it is his religious duty to report what his father has done, which is his main reason for doing it. Having fulfilled his duty in regard to the event, his conscience will be at peace. Furthermore, Euthyphro is very much opposed to Meletus and . The Euthyphro Dilemma dated back before Christianity, it was a debate which concerned polytheism arguing that the gods are not in unison, it asks, "whether the gods love the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it .

Diagnostic information:

Instead of religion being used as a kind of tool or device for getting what one wants, as was true in Euthyphro's case, Socrates believes the primary purpose of true religion is to bring one's own life into harmony with the will of God.

We become educated and gain knowledge that feeds our souls and we start to have different desires and beliefs about our world and the way things should be. Socrates has an understanding personality trait in which he chooses to see it all instead of deeming someone intolerant he deems them ignorant because they do not know what else they can.

The Internet Classics Archive | Euthyphro by Plato