Thoughts on Euthyphro

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Reading dialogues of Plato has always been challenging because of its difficulty but at the same time they are thought-provoking. Those dialogues share a same plot: Socrates has a short conversation with somebody that claims to an expert in a certain kinds of ethics. For instance, in Euthyphro, Socrates has a conversation with Euthyphro who happened to claim as an expert in ethics of piety and holiness. At the end, the dialogue ends half-baked and Socrates deflates Euthyphro by implying that he is ignorant in such topic. I would like to comment on the inconclusiveness of the dialogue. In the text, Euthyphro makes an excuse and leaves Socrates, which portrays the defeat of Euthyphro in the dialogue. One reason for the inconclusiveness is that Plato wanted the readers to ponder on the definition of piety. This assumption is drawn on the concept that there is a definite definition of piety. As Plato may have expected, I pondered on the definition. I understand that piety is one of the highest virtues in the time of Plato because it was something that put family and society together through love and arbitrary rules that thought to be gods’ mindsets. However, this idea goes back to the argument that piety is what is approved by the gods which was negated by Socrates. Therefore, I was unable to come up with a clear answer. On the other hand, the other possibility is that there is no definite definition of piety that is common to all people. This may be supported by the Socrates’ stand point in the arguments. Euthyphro gave several remarkable arguments that somewhat seemed to be the meaning of piety. Socrates constantly negated his arguments by providing logical evidences but Socrates never gave his own view of what is piety. This may suggest that Socrates, too, has no definite understanding of what is piety, and only has ideas of what is not the essence of piety.

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