Professor R. Cherubin
13 February 2008
In Plato’s the
, Socrates seeks out the definition of piety through a
series of questions and answers with Euthyphro.
Socrates states that persons using piety
to justify their actions, Euthyphro, must have superior understanding of piety.
Socrates asks Euthyphro the fundamental question, “
What is the pious
?” (Plato, 5d).
Out of all the attempts to answer Socrates question, I chose to focus my essay on
Euthyphro’s third definition, “what all the gods love is holy and, on the other hand, what
they all hate is unholy” (Plato, 9e).
This definition creates a correlation between piety
and the things the gods love.
However, Socrates points out that every statement needs to
be examined regardless of its sensibility.
Consequently Socrates asks whether the gods
love piety because it is pious or is piety pious because the gods love it?, which led to
another question, why do the gods love the pious in the first place?
Asking the grounds
for the action in question, Socrates stresses that the reason the gods love piety must be
known, “I am trying to say this, that if anything becomes or undergoes, it does not
become because it is in a state of becoming, but it is in a state of becoming because it
becomes, and it does not undergo because it is a thing which undergoes, but because it
undergoes it is a thing which undergoes?” (Plato, 10c).