Socrates and the Defintion of Piety Essay


Plato’s discussion called Euthyphro is about a discussion that happened between Socrates and Euthyphro concerning the meaning of piety, or one’s duty to both gods and to humankind. Socrates has been incurred with impiety and is gonna be tried before the Athenian court while Euthyphro can be on trial for murder. Because Socrates knew which the Athenian persons did not understand the meaning of piety, Socrates asks Euthyphro to answer the question “What is definitely piety? ” He desires to see if Euthyphro is as smart as he statements to be, and if he is not, Socrates is going to debunk his claim.

Socrates is stressed to find out about the nature of piety as Meletus has accused him of the offense of impiety. Socrates tackles this question to Euthyphro, “What can be piety? ” Euthyphro answers that piety is taking charges against one who has done wrong, although that person actually is his own father. Socrates is not satisfied with that response and firmly insist that a correct definition of piety must contain all parts of morality. In reply, Euthyphro says, “Piety is what is dear to the gods and impiety is that which is not dear to them” (p.

420). Socrates then concludes it be no more acceptable than the past one. Not necessarily clear why is anything special to the gods, or in the event that what is dear to some of the gods is definitely dear to all or any.

Socrates after that asks Euthyphro if those people who are pious are also just. Euthyphro answers certainly, but not all just persons are pious. Socrates then simply wants to know if piety is a element of justice, and if it is, what part? Euthyphro replies that piety is the fact part of justice that attends to the gods, just as there is certainly another a part of justice that attends to men.

This kind of, too, can be unsatisfactory since we do not really know what “attends” means. At this point, Euthyphro states that we now have various ways by which men can minister for the gods, but he will not point them out. Socrates still insists that he does not really know what piety is usually since Euthyphro cannot think of its the case definition. The question is an important one, not only pertaining to Socrates, however for anyone in accordance with moral habit.

The dialog closes without the final solution to the question with which the discussion started. Socrates urges Euthyphro to carry on the search for the meaning of piety. Until he has found it, there may be no reason for the decision he has turned concerning his father. Citation: Lawhead, William F. The Philosophical Journey: An Active Approach. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Club., 2000.


  • Category: Beliefs
  • Words: 473
  • Pages: 2
  • Project Type: Essay