The Argument Of Piety In Euthyphro's Irony

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Following traditional Socratic procedure, Socrates, in Plato’s Euthyphro, assumes the unfitting role of the ignorant pupil seeking to obtain knowledge from Euthyphro, the prosecutor and self-proclaimed expert on piety. However, as the dialogue progresses and the irony reveals itself, Euthyphro unveils his true ignorance and Socrates emerges as the wise prosecutor who questions the former on his various definitions and understandings of piety. Euthyphro, after having his previous definitions rejected by Socrates, suggests that what is pious is “what all the gods love” (Plato 9e). Immediately, Socrates deconstructs this argument and outlines a simple syntactic analysis of a phrase. This mere simplification of his argument examines the coexistence…show more content…
Socrates masterfully and methodically introduces the notion of a conditional existence: that something cannot exist in a certain state without another object making it exist in that way, through the syntactic analysis, that he then expands to apply to the overall definition of piety. By first explaining a simplification of his overall argument, Socrates skillfully makes Euthyphro concede his suggested definition even before Socrates himself expands the initial argument to the realm of piety. Thus, before Euthyphro was even able to comprehend the situation or Socrates’ argument, the self-proclaimed expert of piety had already lost the debate with his suggested definition having already been deconstructed and rendered logically impossible. Though complex, the argument Socrates makes is clear and logical, with a consistent theme and pattern that makes Euthyphro admit and agree to the logical impossibility of his argument; in one simple question, “’It is being loved then because it is pious, but it is not pious because it is being loved?’” (Plato 10d), Socrates invalidates the soundness of Euthyphro’s argument. This use of logical reason, which is embedded throughout Socrates’ mathematical-proof like analysis of piety, debunks Euthyphro’s definition, exposing the expert prosecutor on piety as the ignorant defendant who had just been prosecuted by the
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