Piety In Socrates

Improved Essays
What is piety? A seemingly simple, yet complex question that as we follow in the discussion between philosophers Socrates and Euthyphro, provides us with further insight on the benefits of calling everything into question. This discussion begins with a satirical attempt by Socrates to explore and ultimately disprove Euthyphro’s ignorant claim of being wise in all such matters as the court and religion. Ironically enough, in the case we are presented with, Socrates is awaiting his own trial on charges of impiety and proposes this exact question to Euthyphro with a fascinated, yet doubtful degree of curiosity that Euthyphro in fact knows the answer and therefore reasoning for why he is indicting his own father. Through Socrates’s pensive questioning …show more content…
Sometimes, though, we discover that the truth of the matter is that there is no truth. However, I believe that in this specific piece of philosophy, the questions asked are not meant to be answered, but rather we are to question the answers that have been given. This is in fact, exactly what Socrates does. Socrates continually points out the inconsistencies and fallacies involved in many of Euthyphro’s statements. There is, futhermore, a very evident usage of irony in Socrates’ praises of Euthyphro’s knowledge of these matters, even requesting to be his disciple. An obvious message to the reader, Socrates does not actually plan to learn from Euthyphro, but rather to lead Euthyphro to acknowledgement of his ignorance through analysis and recognition of the faults in Euthyphro’s own arguments. However, it is important to recognize that Socrates does not simply point out Euthyphro’s flaws, but rather attempts to lead him to recognize his own flaws in his reasoning. Socrates urges Euthyphro to look more closely at the consequences of what he has claimed, a sign of an experienced and respectable teacher. Still, by the end of their dialogue, the readers are no closer to a definition of piety, so what is to be learnt for the audience? Perhaps it ends so swiftly and with so much inconclusiveness to urge readers to think more independently and form more sound, supported …show more content…
Plato’s main goal here as a teacher is to teach us, and it is evident that he firmly believes that knowledge only comes when we can justify our own beliefs in the way that he handles this specific case with Euthyphro. For this reason, the dialogue form of this piece is ideal for readers to analyze and learn from. The true nature of piety, perhaps, may not be defined. Although this theory leaves Euthyphro’s justification for his father’s persecution unacceptable, it also leaves us with the affirmation that application of careful techniques of reasoning such as the Socratic method can and should result in progress to the resolution of a philosophical

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Plato's Symposium Analysis

    • 2328 Words
    • 10 Pages

    This prompt response shows how unacceptable Agathon’s agreement is. Socrates explains that truth itself cannot be refuted. He says, “my dear,” referring to Agathon. Socrates does not correct Agathon to humiliate him; instead, he tells him he is wrong out of fondness. Plato uses this dialog to persuade the reader to critically analyze ideas based on the logic they are based in, not the personal merit of the originator of the idea.…

    • 2328 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    According to Glaucon, another student of Socrates, we are not. “ No one is willingly just; men will be just only if constrained.” (P.56-d) Glaucon challenges the principles of Justice. His explanation of justice is powerful because it holds some truth. When we shun evil away is for the fear of punishment. When we help others is for a hope of a reward.…

    • 703 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Thrasymachus accuses Socrates of being the kind of person that learns from others instead of giving his own opinion and trying to teach others. Socrates agrees that he learns from others but does not agree that he does not try to teach others. Thrasymachus and Socrates finally agree that if Thrasymachus wins the challenge that Socrates will have to praise him because Socrates does not have money. Thrasymachus gives his definition…

    • 1313 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This question perplexes Euthyphro and in desperation he just says that Socrates is manipulating his arguments and making them not get anywhere. Socrates replies to this by saying that he is just asking questions and it is Euthyphro's answers that aren't getting anywhere. He then tries to help Euthyphro by asking him if what is holy is always just and if whatever is just is holy. While Euthyphro is pondering this, Socrates goes on to ask is all that is holy is just, are there some instances where things are just plain just and not really holy? Socrates leaves the rest to Euthyphro to decipher how this is.…

    • 1534 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Plato, purposefully never fully answers either question in this dialogue between Socrates and Meno but instead pulls the reader into a series of questions, without clear conclusions. Although the focus of the Meno is virtue the way in which Plato approaches the topic (by putting forth new questions which surround the central one) allows for a deeper evaluation of each question. In the dialogue, the words knowledge and wisdom are used almost interchangeably and it is assumed that both knowledge and wisdom must be taught. Yet, knowledge and wisdom have two different meanings. To have knowledge one must know facts and have a wealth of information; wisdom includes the traits of knowledge, but to be wise an individual must also possess good judgment and experience.…

    • 821 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I found Socrates’s objection to Polemarchus’s definition more convincing because he questions a common belief among many people that to be just you must help your friends and harm your enemies no matter what. I agree with Socrates because you shouldn’t help your friend if they are doing something wrong just because they’re your friend, you must recognize for yourself in individual circumstances what the just act is. Cephalus’s definition speaks quite a bit to his character, I’ll talk about that…

    • 1036 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    When Socrates asks his opponent to answer truthfully, Thrasymachus responds by asking whether or not it even matters if he says what he really believes. Anyone familiar with the Socratic elenchus would anticipate a response from Socrates explaining why it is critical for Thrasymachus to be properly involved in the conversation, and not merely a puppet who agrees with every point. John Beversluis refers to this as the “existential dimension” in which Socrates “examines his interlocutors’ lives as well as their theses”. Yet Socrates does no such thing, instead deciding to proceed with the discussion whether Thrasymachus believes him or not. There are two ways to look at this, firstly, we can again give Socrates the benefit of the doubt.…

    • 2199 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Without applying both wisdoms the student of the philosopher becomes narrow minded and begins to lack the understanding of the world outside the Thinkery. Aristophanes does a great job of depicting Socrates as a practical philosopher because Socrates lacks to see the world’s problems. In fact, Socrates’s mindset is to manipulate these idle men like Strepsiades and persuade them into thinking that the world’s problems can be solved by becoming less…

    • 409 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Through minimal instruction by Socrates, instead proposing questions to the servant, the servant eventually comes to the correct answer. Socrates takes this as the servant recollecting the material since the “belief[s] he gave as an answer” were his own, but that “he did not know the answer” (85b-85c). Socrates uses these premises to form the argument one may have true beliefs about things he does not know and that by these beliefs being “stirred up in him… he will have knowledge of them that is no less exact than anyone else’s”…

    • 1585 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Socrates questions Domocritus’ philosophy until the conclusion was that ideas can be true or false but since ideas are not material things, his philosophy was wrong and was more of a faith. Soon after Socrates and Kreeft climbed through the whole they were met by the next philosopher, Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus states that, “there is no natural law of good and evil.” This philosophy is how one gets to the land of liberty. Socrates gives a lesson on logic and points out a flaw in Thrasymachus’ view. Socrates states that Thrasymachus is not a rebel, just a noble conservative to the authority above…

    • 1385 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays