PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor: Rachel Howell
The story of “Euthyphro” was one that I had a very difficult time understanding. I had to read the story numerous times to get the information retained in my head. The reason that I had such a difficult time comprehending the story of “Euthyphro” is that I did not know the definition for the words “pious”, “piety”, and “impiety”; Pious is defined as a virtue that can mean religious devotion, piety is defined as devotion to natural obligations, and impiety is defined as a lack of respect for God. After understanding the definition to these three words the story became a little easier to understand. I will explain how the concept of holiness emerges in the story and define piety according to Euthyphro; I will also explain Socrates response to Euthyphro. I will end with a definition of my own for piety given in a Socratic response.
The concept of holiness emerges in the story when Socrates is waiting for his trial for impiety to begin, when he sees his friend Euthyphro also waiting for a trial to begin; his own father is on trial for impiety and Euthyphro is the one that is prosecuting him. Socrates stated these words to Euthyphro, “A man must be an extraordinary man, and have made great strides in wisdom, before he could have seen his way to bring such action.” The concept of holiness takes a prominent position when Socrates asks Euthyphro to help teach him, because Socrates believes that someone who can prosecute his own father for murder must have a strong understanding of piety and impiety.
Euthyphro gives Socrates three different definitions for the meaning of piety. Euthyphro used the act of him prosecuting his father as a definition for piety. Socrates identified that Euthyphro was giving an example of piety but was not defining it. The second definition that Euthyphro gives Socrates is that piety is what is pleasing to the gods. Socrates proved...