Phil 170 – Soctrates
In the Euthyphro, Socrates asks Euthyphro what is the meaning of piety and moreover, what are the criteria to see what acts are considered pious. In this essay I will demonstrate that together the subjective and the objective arguments hold more validity than by themselves.
“Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” (Plato, 11). The question Socrates poses on to Euthyphro is a very complicated one because it is not a simple yes or no answer. There are parts hidden within this question that need to be cleared up before it is answered.
For one, what are the main reasons why Socrates even asks this in the first place? Socrates is accused of being impious and is soon heading to trial where he meets Euthyphro who is accusing his father of murder (Plato, 4). Socrates is astonished at how wise Euthyphro is and can over see what is right in a difficult situation (Plato, 5). He then uses this opportunity to ask what pious means or to get a basis of its guidelines, its eidos. To have that knowledge, Socrates can then use it for himself while he is on trial to have a better argument as to why he is not impious. Also, to teach others to be pious since Socrates believes that to live a well life, an eudaimonia, you have to reach the best state of your soul and in order to do that you have to live virtuously (Plato, 32-33).
To live virtuously, you had to live within the 5 pillars: temperance, piety, courage, wisdom, and justice. Socrates believed that these pillars were all intertwined together, that one cannot be there without the other. So to be wise you need to be courageous, to make the right decision, and so forth; they are the core skills to live well (Plato, 32-33). Socrates also believed that no one ever does wrong knowingly (Plato, 28-29). He wants to find what pious means through this type of dialogue to teach others to think for themselves and if he knows its eidos he can better help others reach their own best state of their soul (Plato, 5, 28-31).