The Definition Of Piety And Impiety Essays

The Definition Of Piety And Impiety Essays

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“It is not living that matters, but living rightly” - Socrates. In Plato’s Euthyphro, Socrates asks Euthyphro what the definition of piety and impiety are, so that he may survive the indictment set upon him by Meletus. Throughout their dialogue Euthyphro concludes that what is pious is what all the gods love and what is impious is what all gods hate, and in response Socrates challenges his claim by asking, “is the [pious] approved by the gods because it’s [pious], or is it [pious] because it’s approved?” Socrates’ question is important because it helps uncover the absurdity in Euthyphro’s logic, the question leads to personal knowledge of our motives, it also leads to richer philosophical inquiry, and it teaches others how to properly agree in a dialogue. In its rigor, the question attempts to figure out what the essence of piety is instead of conforming to the popular belief that the gods decide what is good.
Throughout the Euthyphro the titled character can only find a few definitions of what piety is, and they are all variations of the same definitions he starts with which is, “ what’s lovable to the gods that’s pious, and what’s not lovable to them that’s impious” (Euthyphro 13 7a). The question Socrates asks helps people discover the absurdity of Euthyphro’s logic and the reader’s who think alike. Euthyphro argues that what the gods love is pious and that we must do as they do. He determines this logic through Divine Command Theory which asserts that, “[piety] is somehow dependent upon God, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to God’s commands”(Austin, Divine Command Theory). However, Socrates argues that what is pious is loved by the gods because it is pious and not because the gods love it. “What is pious is lo...


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...ophical inquiry.
Socrates’ question is to teach others how to properly argue in a dialogue. Both Socrates and Euthyphro focus on the matter at hand by removing the unnecessary examples. They do not argue for the purpose of “winning” the argument, but instead argue for the sake of finding truth. The Euthyphro illustrates the Socratic belief that virtue is knowledge that, “You cannot tend, care, or improve anything unless you know its nature” (Pojman 52) In order to argue with others purposely we must follow Socrates and “treat [him] as an illustration” (Apology 23b pg.39). In other words, we must follow in his example and explore questions like these thoroughly until we can find some meaning. When at the face of death Socrates accepts his faith so that we too may follow in his footsteps in finding truth by questioning our doubts vigorously so that we may find truth.

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