Socrates And Euthyphro's Definitions Of Piety

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Plato's Socratic dialog Euthyphro through its content can be considered representative of the types of philosophical quests Socrates is highly recognized for. In many of the Socratic dialogs, Socrates seeks out those who possess knowledge only to prove that they don’t possess given knowledge. Socrates performs this task by questioning the experts and ultimately driving them to contradict themselves. In the dialog Euthyphro, Socrates receives three different definitions of Piety by Euthyphro. I will be analyzing the different definitions in order justify Socrates’ issue with Euthyphro’s definitions of piety and why a definition of piety is necessary act in a pious manner.
The Euthyphro begins with an encounter between Socrates and Euthyphro
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More importantly, prosecuting a wrongdoer has no regard for who the person may be ( ). This definition of piety proves to be troubling for Socrates because it is an example of what a pious action is as opposed to the defining characteristics of piety. According to this definition piety is simply prosecuting and punishing those who coming any wrongdoing, however, there are many more things considered pious yet not relating to this definition. For Socrates, there is a distinction between providing an effect of being pious and having a clear definition of the characteristics of piety. What Socrates is searching for is the essential characteristics of piety. The characteristics that if any action possesses, automatically makes it a pious action. The answer provided to Socrates can be compared to being asked what being human is, and someone responding that being human is walking on two legs. This response is not the defining characteristic of being human given that there are various animals that also walk on two legs including apes, birds, and kangaroos yet they are not recognized as humans.
The second definition of piety provided by Euthyphro is that piety is what “is pleasing to the gods (6E)”. Socrates acknowledged this definition as it provided a universal trait which could be applied to any action to determine whether such an action was pious. The definition however was invalid. This definition provided a contradiction between what is pious and impious. For Socrates this definition served no purpose in defining pious given that what might be loved by one god might be hated by another

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