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Euthyphro

Good or bad, right or wrong, truth or lie, piety or impiety, just or unjust, honorable or dishonorable; these controversies are and always have been problematic for human beings. It is not as easy as it seems to draw a line between those antonyms, partly because people have cultural differences, dissimilar backgrounds, educational levels, values, believes, and views on religion, as in the case with Socrates and Euthyphro.

Following the conversation of Socrates and Euthyphro, it is obvious that Socrates is a philosopher who relies on his philosophic point of view and believes that it is not normal to pursue your own father for murder, if he killed a non-relative. But vice versa, it is alright to press charges against your father, if the victim is a family member. As seen from Socrates’s proposition: “I suppose that the man whom your father murdered was one of your relative -- clearly he was; for if he had been a stranger you would never have thought of prosecuting him”. He is not only surprised about Euthyphro’s desire to bring his own father to court, but is also amazed that religion beliefs might be stronger then the relationship between father and son. On the contrary, Euthypro observes this case from a different point of view. For him it doesn’t matter, who is the murderer: “The real question is whether the murdered man has been justly slain. If justly, then your duty is to let the matter alone; but if unjustly, then even if the murderer lives under the same table, proceed against him”. One can then ask: “What are the criteria for recognition of whether the murdered man has been justly or unjustly slain?”
Socrates was in court awaiting trial on charges of impiety. The philosopher sarcastically agrees to be Euthyphro’s disciple, when Euthyphro suggest that he has deep knowledge of religion and of things pious and impious. It was important for Socrates to understand the difference between these terms, as he had to appear in court with justification of his actions (rash imagination and innovations in religion). Along their debate, Socrates is little-by-little persuading Euthyphro that the distinction between just and unjust, piety and impiety, honorable and dishonorable is very ambiguous and depends on how it is viewed and by whom it is viewed. Socrates points out that things and actions are not necessarily pious and holy when loved by Gods, because even Gods were frequently involved in immoral acts and very often even quarreled with each other.

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He tells Euthyphro that “… in thus chastising your father you may very likely be doing that is agreeable to Zeus but disagreeable to Cronos or Uranus, and that is acceptable to Hephaestus but unacceptable to Here, and there may be other gods who have similar differences of opinion.” With confidence, Socrates puts forward the comparison of Gods and men by saying that both are “impure” and “… some of them say while others deny that injustice is done among them. For surely neither God nor men will ever venture to say that the doer of injustice is not to be punished?”
As Euthypohro continued to speak with Socrates, the grounds for his were no longer stable, and he was no longer sure what he would be the right action. The analogy represented in the conversation between Socrates and Euthypohro leads us to believe that it is not easy to draw a line between good or bad, right or wrong, truth or lie, pity or impiety, just or unjust . In today’s life also, it is possible to present actions in such a way that they can be perceived as right or wrong, based on the speaker’s ability to show them in such light. In making a decision similar to which Euthyphro was faced with, one should solely rely on his or her own beliefs, views and often intuition.


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