Philosophy of Science Essay

4372 WordsJul 22, 201218 Pages
SOCRATES Conception of Piety The Euthyphro is inconclusive in the sense that Socrates and Euthyphro never do agree about the nature of piety. Euthyphro reverts to his claim that piety is what is pleasing to God. However, the Euthyphro does give a pretty clear indication of Socrates’ conception of piety, founded on the other horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma, “God loves piety because it is pious.” Socrates offers a fairly well-developed argument for his conception of piety, as well. Socrates’ argument departs from the claim that there are two parts of justice, roughly “care of God” and “care of men”. But for Socrates, it just doesn’t stand to reason that we can do anything for God, certainly not if “care of the gods [would be] to benefit the gods and make them better”. For this reason, he cannot make sense of Euthyphro’s view of piety as a kind of barter or trade between people and God. For Socrates, the view that we can do anything to benefit God is impious, or at least insulting to God. “Prayer and sacrifice” —the staples of many forms of piety—are not beneficial to God. God doesn’t need our acknowledgement; God already knows that He is God and that He gives us every good thing. It doesn’t help God if we tell God that. If, prayer, thanksgiving, praise, worship, belief in God, and the like are beneficial at all, they are beneficial to the believer. This is very disturbing terrain for many students, especially as the implications of this view emerges. Recall the two parts of justice—care of God and care of our fellows. If we can do nothing to benefit God—not even having faith in God or acknowledging God’s presence—then the first part of justice is completely empty. There is nothing we can do to care for God; God doesn’t need or want anything from us. We may have here a precursor of the doctrine that God, in order to be God, must be all-powerful and
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