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The Trial And Death Of Socrates

1017 words - 4 pages

Recognized as one of the classical Greek Athenian philosophers who founded Western philosophy, Socrates was a mysterious figure known essentially through the accounts of later classical writers, especially from writings of his students Xenophon and the most popular Plato. Through Plato’s dialogues, Socrates has been portrayed and renowned for his involvement in the field of moral principles, and by this the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic Method had come about. With Socrates’ pedagogy, a series of questions can be asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to persuade deep-seated insights into the real issues at hand. His result remains a frequently used tool in a broad series of discussions.
The trial of Socrates was based on two disreputable and indistinct charges that were found to be disliked by the Greek culture; corrupting the youth and impiety. To be more specific about impiety, Socrates’ accusers mentioned two impious acts: introducing new deities and failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges.
In the first part, Socrates is in a conversation with Euthyphro, who is a professional priest, while on their way to court for Socrates’ trial. Euthyphro was going to the courthouse because he was about to prosecute his father for murdering one of his servants who was also a murderer that killed another fellow slave. Being charged with impiety, and having a priest with him that claims to know what piety is, Socrates takes the opportunity to learn from Euthyphro what piety is really about.
The first definition of piety that Euthyphro answers was what he is doing now, which is prosecuting his father and seeing that justice is done and what he’s doing to his father is pious. Socrates does not take it as a definition rather than saw it as an example of piety. Realizing his mistake Euthyphro tries again and states his second definition which was that “Pious acts are loved by the gods.” Socrates criticizes that definition and states it’s a contradiction because the god themselves can’t agree to what is pleasing or not and some find it pious and some not pious. So the result of the second definition would be being pious and impious at the same time which “Pious acts are loved by the Gods,” would be a poor definition.
Euthyphro comes back with a third definition correcting the second which is “Pious acts are loved by ALL gods.” Socrates introduces the “Euthyphro Dilemma” and states “Is it pious because it is loved by the gods, or do the gods love it because it is pious?” This question Socrates affirms that if the first part is true, then it’s not a definition because it shows that all gods love pious actions but does not thoroughly explain what makes some actions to be pious. The priest goes on to a forth definition but after being clarified by Socrates’, it is somewhat the same as the second definition. Recognizing that he had come...

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