Socrates euthyphro essay

Socrates euthyphro essay

Socrates euthyphro essay

Each of these essays is designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate to me how well you understand the class material. In order to do this, imagine that you are trying to explain the subject to your intelligent, but ignorant, roommate. That is, state things clearly enough, explaining any technical terminology, offering examples where they are needed for illustration, and expanding on any cryptic or compressed remarks, so that a person not already familiar with the material would understand what you mean. By doing this, you’ll show me that You understand what you’re talking about. However, since time is limited, don’t go off into irrelevant areas or offer information that is not needed to answer the question; don’t pad.

In each of the essays below, I give a number of points that I want you to touch upon. However, please do not simply answer them one-by-one, in a disconnected, «bullet-point,» manner. Incorporate your discussion of each of the points within a continuous, coherent, flowing essay on the topic. The parts of the essay do not necessarily need to be treated in the order in which I mention them.

To prepare for the exam, work through the answers to the following essay questions. A good way to do philosophy is to talk about it with other people, so studying with others in the class may be useful. Out of the following essay questions, you will have to write on two. (either 2 out of three, or 1 each out of two groups of two).

  1. The Apology. Socrates claims that he is wiser than the other citizens of Athens, even though he is ignorant. Why does he claim this? How does his ‘human wisdom’ relate to his god-given mission? Socrates also claims that what he is doing is highly beneficial to the citizens of Athens. Why does he believe this? Evaluate either his claim that he is wiser than the other citizens of Athens or that he greatly benefits the citizens of Athens by questioning them as he does.
  2. The Euthyphro When Socrates asks Euthyphro for a definition of piety, what are his requirements for a good definition? Why is Euthyphro’s first definition, «the pious is to do what I am doing now,» defective? On what grounds does Socrates object to the definition «the pious is what All the gods love»? How does this objection relate to the requirements for an adequate definition? How does Socrates’ questioning of Euthyphro show him carrying out the god-given mission that Socrates describes in the Apology? Do you think that Socrates actually is greatly benefiting the citizens of Athens by questioning them in this way, as he claims? Why or why not?

Ring of Gyges and Justice.At the beginning of Book II of the Republic, Glaucon divides goods into three classes. What are the classes, and how is the story of the Ring of Gyges supposed to show that justice belongs to the third class of goods? At the end of Book IV, what does Socrates say that justice is (in the individual)? What arguments does he give for this conception of justice? How is this supposed to answer Glaucon’s and Thrasymachus’ challenge to Socrates? Do you think that it does actually adequately address that challenge? Why, or why not? (NOTE: a detailed discussion of why Plato favors the rule of the guardians in the ideal Republic isn’t needed to answer this question. However, you might want to bring up the analogy of the self to the ideal state in your answer.)

  • The Three Classes. What are the three different classes in Plato’s ideal state, and what are the functions and characteristics of each? Why does Plato think that the Guardians should rule in the ideal state, and why does he think that this state is just? According to Plato, why is this state just? According to Plato, why is this state better than a democracy? Do you find his account of the ideal state and his criticisms of democracy convincing? Why or why not?
  • Forms, and the lovers of sights and sounds. Explain the difference between the ‘lovers of sights and sounds’ and the philosophers, according to Socrates. Why do the lovers and sights and sounds have only opinion and not knowledge? And why must knowledge be of forms, according to Socrates? In answering this question, give an account of what a Form is for Socrates, and why he believes that they exist. Do you agree with Socrates about that knowledge is of forms, and why or why not?
  • Return to the Ancient and Medieval Philosophy page.

    How can I write a two-page essay on Euthyphro addressing the following questions:1) On what basis does Euthyphro determine what he should and.

    How can I write a two-page essay on Euthyphro addressing the following questions:

    1) On what basis does Euthyphro determine what he should and should not do?

    2) Why does Socrates not accept Euthyphro’s answer for how he knows what is good, holy, or pious?

    3) What danger is inherent in Euthyphro’s method for determining the moral good?

    Expert Answers

    You might begin your paper by pointing out the similarities between Socrates and Euthyphro. Both men are on the verge of attending trials and have acted in ways that are strikingly unusual for society in their period. Both men also feel justified in part by their intense, personal intuitive connection with the divine. In a sense, Plato’s central task in the dialogue is to try to show us that Socrates, despite apparent similarities, differs in.

    You might begin your paper by pointing out the similarities between Socrates and Euthyphro. Both men are on the verge of attending trials and have acted in ways that are strikingly unusual for society in their period. Both men also feel justified in part by their intense, personal intuitive connection with the divine. In a sense, Plato’s central task in the dialogue is to try to show us that Socrates, despite apparent similarities, differs in some way from Euthyphro.

    In the first main section of your paper, you should analyze Euthyphro’s claims to expertise and exact knowledge and the way Socrates refutes them. It would also be worth pointing out that this is how Plato most strongly attempts to distinguish Socrates not only from Euthyphro but from his accusers, in having Socrates claim ignorance rather than knowledge.

    The second section of your paper will need to look at a series of different claims made by Euthyphro. Although Euthyphro says he has exact knowledge of what is pious and impious, he does not really discuss the grounds for his knowledge beyond citing a parallel in the poets of his own actions. When Socrates presses Euthyphro to define the essence («ousia») of piety, Euthyphro first offers an example and then the possibility that what is good is beloved by all the gods, an answer that proves unsatisfactory in light of the ways the gods disagree.

    The third section of your essay should discuss the danger of not having general criteria for goodness before making judgments about whether specific cases are or are not good. Without such general principles, no one opinion is any better than any other.

    Euthyphro Summary

    • Plot overview and analysis written by an experienced literary critic.
    • Full study guide for this title currently under development.
    • To be notified when we launch a full study guide, please contact us.

    Euthyphro Summary

    SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Euthyphro by Plato.

    Euthyphro is a work by Plato written in the form of a dialogue between Plato’s teacher, Socrates, and a man named Euthyphro. The purpose of the work is to examine and define the meaning of piety or holiness. It takes place in the weeks before Socrates’s famous trial, which eventually ended in his forced suicide by drinking hemlock.

    The dialogue begins with both men awaiting preliminary hearings for trials at the court of Archon Basileus. Euthyphro has arrived to press charges against his father for killing a worker by leaving him to die without taking proper care. The worker had killed a slave, and while waiting to see what should be done, his father left the worker bound in a ditch.

    Socrates is surprised that the man is so confident in bringing charges against his father. He correctly deduces that the man already holds a high view of himself and his moral reasoning. As such, he is fully prepared to bring a case against his father despite some major concerns Socrates has.

    The dialogue is an example of Socrates’s use of irony to reach a conclusive philosophical point. Socrates tells Euthyphro that he has such a good understanding of piety that Socrates can learn a few things from him. That way, Socrates can better defend himself against his own charges of impiety. He asks that they talk for a little bit so that Socrates can learn.

    Euthyphro tells Socrates that the charges against him stem from the belief that he has discredited the stories of the gods or that he expresses skepticism that they are true. Socrates claimed previously that some of the stories of their cruelty and their inconsistency lead him to believe they might not be accurate.

    They discuss briefly, and Euthyphro claims he can tell many astonishing stories. However, Socrates then asks Euthyphro to define piety. With each successive definition, Socrates finds a flaw and asks him to define it again. Euthyphro is unable to correct his faulty reasoning, and in the end, excuses himself and walks away instead of providing a definition that sticks.

    Socrates was “unable” to come to a solid definition of piety and thus learned nothing from his conversation. Again, this is an example of Socratic irony. Socrates pretends to know nothing in order to elicit knowledge from his conversation partner, but we find out in the end that it is Socrates who is the wiser of the two.

    The first definition of piety revolves around the idea that piety is what Euthyphro is doing by prosecuting his father. Socrates rejects this definition outright because it is only an example, not a true definition.

    The second definition is what is pleasing to the gods. Although Socrates finds this definition better because it is an actual definition, he reminds Euthyphro that the gods themselves are conflicted on what is pleasing. Because dispute can still arise among the gods, this doesn’t fully define piety.

    The third definition is amended from the second. What all the gods love is pious and what all the gods hate is impious. Socrates then asks which comes first? Is something pious because all the gods love it, or do all the gods love it because it is pious? Because this is circular reasoning, Socrates is not satisfied that this definition explains the inherent quality of piety.

    Euthyphro is unable to understand at this point why his definitions are failing and he becomes frustrated. Socrates continues in the second part of the dialogue with a partial fourth definition linking piety to justice. He says that all that is pious is just, but he offers no further clues on what might constitute “just.”

    Euthyphro responds that piety is looking after the gods, but Socrates again rejects his definition. The concept of looking after the gods suggests that people’s acts of piety make the gods better, which would be an act of hubris, according to Socrates.

    Euthyphro’s final offering is a definition that states piety is the art of sacrifice and prayer. Through this definition, Euthyphro claims that piety is offering things to the gods, but this leads back to his original assertion that piety depends on what the gods like, and the gods have different opinions. Socrates has already rejected this definition.

    Euthyphro does not offer further clarification and instead excuses himself without giving Socrates a satisfactory definition. Socrates receives nothing helpful in his defense against impiety charges, though it’s clear he never intended to gain any insight.

    The dialogue is concerned with the definition of piety, of course, but the real theme of the dialogue points more to the charges leveled against Socrates himself. Plato’s depiction of the exchange leaves the conversation inconclusive and open. This is ironic, considering Socrates was later executed for the very same charges of impiety. If there is no set definition of piety, there is no set definition of impiety. How can a person be tried and executed for committing a crime with no definition?

    The dialogue suggests that we cannot link what is pious to the will of the divine and that charges based solely on the divine are frivolous. Since Socrates was well respected by Plato, we can understand that the dialogue further serves to exonerate his teacher from the charges that ultimately led to his death.