DAC Divine Command Theory Irony Euthyphro Socrates & Piety Essay


In this assignment, we will watch Socrates in action, as he applies the Socratic Method in a discussion with an arrogant young priest, Euthyphro.
“The Euthyphro is one of Plato’s most interesting and important early dialogues. Its focus is on the question: What is piety? Euthyphro, a priest of sorts, claims to know the answer, but Socrates shoots down each definition he proposes. After five failed attempts to define piety Euthyphro hurries off leaving the question unanswered.
The Dramatic Context
It is 399 BCE. Socrates and Euthyphro meet by chance outside the court in Athens where Socrates is about to be tried on charges of corrupting the youth and for impiety (or more specifically, not believing in the city’s gods and introducing false gods.)
At his trial, as all of 柏拉图 (Links to an external site.)’s readers would know, Socrates was found guilty and condemned to death. This circumstance casts a shadow over the discussion. For as Socrates says, the question he’s asking on this occasion is hardly a trivial, abstract issue that doesn’t concern him. As it will turn out, his life is on the line.
Euthyphro is there because he is prosecuting his father for murder. One of their servants had killed a slave, and Euthyphro’s father had tied the servant up and left him in a ditch while he sought advice about what to do. When he returned, the servant had died.
Most people would consider it impious for a son to bring charges against his father, but Euthyphro claims to know better. His purpose in prosecuting his father is not to get him punished but to cleanse the household of blood guilt. This is the kind of thing he understands, and the ordinary Athenian does not.
The Concept of Piety (or holiness)
The English term “piety” or “the pious” is translated from the Greek word “hosion.” This word might also be translated as holiness or religious correctness. Piety has two senses:
A narrow sense: knowing and doing what is correct in religious rituals. For example, knowing what prayers should be said on any specific occasion, or knowing how to perform a sacrifice.
A broad sense: righteousness; being a good person.
Euthyphro begins with the first, narrower sense of piety in mind. But Socrates, true to his general outlook, tends to stress the broader sense. He is less interested in correct ritual than in living morally. (Jesus’ attitude toward Judaism is rather similar) – by Emrys Westacott
Read Plato’s Euthyphro
Audio here:
The Greek word for piety or holiness is “Hoison” and it is translated more accurately as, righteousness, or justice, though with a religious connotation.
Answer the following questions, 500 word minimum total (not including the questions themselves). Do not use direct quotes. You need to explain what is going on in the dialogue in your own words. Submit in the assignment box below the questions by the calendar deadline.
1. Give an example of irony: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Socratic+irony
2. Explain why Euthyphro is at the Court house and why Socrates is rather shocked at the reason.
3. What problem does Socrates point out about Euthyphro’s first attempt at a definition of Piety? (you need to clearly state the definition and the criticism) (Hint: Piety is “doing as I am doing’)
4. What problem does he find in Euthyphro’s second definition? (you need to clearly state the definition and the criticism) (Hint: :What is dear to the ___s.)
5. Euthyphro’s third definition is: Pious actions are actions that ALL the gods love. Socrates then asks, “are pious actions pious BECAUSE the the gods love them; or do the gods love them BECAUSE they are pious?” Why is this a dilemma? Why is each choice a bad one for Euthyphro’s attempt at understanding what piety is? (you might watch the video below to help understand this).
6. Explain why Socrates’ “Euthyphro Dilemma” has a much wider application to a monotheistic explanation of morality. (see the Crash Course video on Divine Command Theory)

7. What problem or problems does Socrates find with the notion that piety is serving or sacrificing to, or attending to the gods?
8. How does Socrates show, toward the end of the dialogue, that Euthyphro is arguing in circles?
9. How does the dialogue end? Does it find a good answer to the question under discussion? In what sense might the discussion have been productive for Euthyphro?


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