Euthyphro Piety Analysis

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In the dialogue Euthyphro, Socrates inquires into the nature of piety and goodness by questioning Euthyphro, whom Socrates deems to be somewhat of an expert on moral matters. Euthyphro defines piety as being that which the gods love. Socrates argues that this definition brings about a dilemma (named the Euthyphro dilemma) that Socrates believes has only two options, both of which challenge the common role that god and religion play in relation to morality. I will argue that perhaps these two options do not require that one completely reject the possibility that morality comes from god. One has the possibility of accepting his first option, although it also requires accepting that god’s actions are arbitrary. By redefining some qualities and …show more content…
Pious, moral and good will be used interchangeably throughout this paper; all of the terms refer to actions or characteristics that are virtuous in nature. After offering a few failed attempts at defining what piety is, Euthyphro states that piety is that which the gods love; impiety is that which the gods hate; and that which some gods love and some gods hate is neither. However, if one is focusing on monotheistic claims about the nature of morality and its links to a god, then one need not be concerned with disagreement among the gods. Socrates rebukes this argument, as he believes it leaves Euthyphro with only two options that require him to alter his conception of the gods and abandon the idea that the gods are causally related to morality. Socrates argues that if the gods love what is pious, then that which they love is either pious because they love it or it is pious external to the gods. That is, it is pious in virtue of another aspect that is not caused by the gods. Here, Euthyphro must accept one of the options given by Socrates, or he must abandon the idea of morality as coming from the gods, altogether. To fully understand why Socrates believes this dilemma poses as such a serious threat let us examine the consequences if we are to accept one of the options proposed. If we accept that what the gods love is pious because they love it, this entails that the gods’ love is what determines

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