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The Euthyphro And The Republic Essay

1817 words - 7 pages

The Euthyphro and The Republic

I. In the Euthyphro, Euthyphro himself gives three proposals of piety. First, the pious is to prosecute the wrongdoer and the impious is not to prosecute the wrongdoer. Socrates disputes this example as lacking generality. He believed that in order to define piety, one had to find the form that made all pious acts pious. An example of a pious act does not in turn define piety. Euthyphro’s second attempt stated that the pious is loved by the gods, while the impious was hated by them. Again, Socrates objects, saying that although it passed the generality requirement, there was no conformity among the objects dear to the gods. After all, the gods had different opinions as did humans. Euthyphro then tries to modify his second attempt by narrowing the requirement to what is loved by all gods or hated by all gods. Socrates deflates this notion as well. He questions wether the pious is loved because the gods love it, or do the gods love it because it is loved. To be loved is a quality given by an act of love. The mere fact of being loved by a god does not give meaning to piety or make the act pious. The point was to find out what a pious act is before declaring it to be god-loved. Euthyphro’s third proposal was to say that piety is a knowledge of how to give to, and beg from the gods, or a part of justice concerned with care of the gods. However, Socrates was pretty blunt in pointing out that the gods lack nothing a human could provide, therefore making those acts of prayer or sacrifice, nothing but for the pleasure of the gods. The acts would then fit under what is beloved by the gods, which was already defeated as the second proposal. The definition of justice was left for a later discussion in the Republic.
In the Republic, the first attempt at defining justice was by the father of Polemarchus, Cephalus, who believed that speaking the truth and paying off one’s debts made one just. Quickly, Socrates asked wether it would be just to return a gun owed to a friend out of his mind, who had originally lent the gun when he was sane. Those involved in the discussion agreed on the need for further refinements to the original statement, but before they could continue a gentleman by the name of Thrasymachus wanted to interject and force Socrates to give his definition of justice. After Socrates states that he doesn’t know and would like to learn, Thrasymachus then says that justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger, the stronger being the established rule. Socrates’ rebuttal was to say that the ruler actually rules for the benefit of his subjects, the ones he is craftsman of. For to be a ruler is a craft and a craft was established as that which provides what is advantageous to it’s subject. Then to continue their discussion, Socrates wanted to address Thrasymachus’ view of wether the life of an unjust person is better, or more profitable, than that of a just one. Thrasymachus...

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