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since they are approved of by some gods and disapproved of by others. For instance, Zeus might approve of punishing one's father, while Kronos or Uranus might not. Euthyphro replies that surely the gods all agree that a person who kills someone unjustly should be punished. Socrates points out that disputes do not arise as to whether an acknowledged wrongdoer should be punished, but as to whether or not the person has in fact acted unjustly. For Euthyphro's argument to have any weight, he must show not that all the gods agree that someone who kills unjustly should be punished, but that all the gods agree that a certain killing was unjust. Socrates presses Euthyphro to prove that all the gods would agree that Euthyphro is acting justly in prosecuting his father for unintentionally having left a man to die of exposure when that man had killed someone in a drunken rage. Euthyphro assures Socrates that he could convince both him and the jury at the trial that his actions are just. He shifts his definition of what is holy slightly, arguing that it is not simply what is agreeable to the gods, since the gods tend to disagree, but that it is what is approved of by all the gods. Commentary Euthyphro's original definition was unsatisfying to Socrates because it only identified a certain class of actions that Euthyphro considers holy without providing an overarching definition. This definition, that what is holy is what is agreeable to the gods, works far better for Socrates because of its generality. We can ask of any action whether or not the gods find it agreeable, and then classify all those actions that are agreeable to the gods as holy. If Euthyphro is correct, this definition should help us determine precisely what is holy and what is not. The problem, of course, is that Euthyphro is not correct, as we shall see. The first step in dismantling Euthyphro's argument is to have him state his positionin a clear manner. Now it will be easier for Socrates to examine his position. In this section, we see Socrates beginning to apply the familiar method of elenchus,or cross-examination.Now that Euthyphro's position is more clear, Socrates begins to examine it more closely, asking Euthyphro to draw out the consequences of what he has asserted. This method of questioning is very much in line with Plato's theories of teaching and knowledge, and with the dialogue form in general. In middle period dialogues, such as the Menoand the Republic,Plato asserts the distinction between knowledge and true belief--that knowledge requires justification, but true belief does not. That is,if I tell you that the sum of the squares of the legs of a right triangle are equal to the square of the hypotenuse, I have only given you a true belief. For you to actually come to know the Pythagorean
theorem, I must also give you an explanation and proof for why this is so, so that you can reason it through on your own.