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Assignment Topic : Euthyphro
Number of Pages :2 Page/ 550 Words
Format: MLA


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Euthyphro is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. The events in the dialogue occure a few weeks before Socrates” trail in 399 BC. The dialogue involves Socarates questioning Euthyphro, on what is holy and what justifs an act as being holly. The dialogue involves Euthyphro trying to justify his reasons for prosecuting his father in which Socrates evaluates each reason providing a reason why each cannot be right. This document discusses Euthyphro and the how the issues raised by the dialogue show how humans are wrong in their justifications methods on morality.

Question 1

Euthyphro considers his acts as being virtous because he is prosecuting someone guilty of murder. He states that his act is virtuous because anyone guilty of murder or a crime similar to murder should be prosecuted and this is not subject to them being your family member or relatives and failure to which is impiety (Minnessotta, pg 1). He offers “notable” proof to Socrates in which he mentions the Gods. Euthyphro states that people ought not to look at him as made man for persecuting his father since Zeus, a god considered as being most righteous did a similar act on his father. Zeus bound Cronos because of devouring his sons and Cronos, similar to Zeus also punished Uranus, his father for same reasons. As such, Euthyphro, sees his acts as being virtuous since learning from the most righteous of gods, all evildoers should be punished. Euthyphro believes that people should perceive him in the same consistent manner they perceived gods when they prosecuted their fathers for crimes(Minnessotta, pg 1).  For him, relation or no relation makes no difference in motive to persecute an evil-doer. His father killed a worker unjustly hence the matter cannot be left alone. To clear himself from knowingly associating with a murderer, he has to go against the murderer by prosecuting him.

Question 2

Euthyphro justifies his doings and his perception in several ways that Socrates challenges. First, he states  that piety is doing acts such as the one he was doing in prosecuting his father. Socrates inquires on what  piety is in which Euthyphro states that it is doing what is dear to the gods. To Euthuphro, his actions of prosecuting his father are virtuous because the gods would agree on the murder being unjustly. Socrates claims that Euthyphro cannot claim virtue is doing what is dear to the gods because even the gods have disagreements(Minnessotta, pg 1). If the gods have been claimed to have enmity and hatred issues with each other, then not all gods will agree on what piety is and impiety. As such, he claims Euthyphro cannot justify his actions with gods considering them virtuous since the gods disagree over what is evil and good, unjust and just. Socrates also denounces the justification of gods agreeing to Euthyphro’s acts as making the acts virtuous. He asks Euthyphro whether an act is made virtous by the act of gods loving it or is an act virtuous because it is inherently virtuous which draws gods love for the act? He claims that an act is not made virtuous because gods love it, it is inherently virtuous without the gods influence. Being holly is independent of the perceptions of gods of the act as being holly hence Euthyphro cannot use gods agreeing with his act as a justification for its holiness.

Question 3

Humans encounter several challenges as they try to invoke gods or other authorities as moral sources. A significant problem is that invoking this authorities as being sources of moral decision-making  defies the nature of a decision being moral inherently. A moral decision is moral in itself and does not draw its morality from an external authority. Sourcing moral decisions from gods creates problems because the gods also disagree on issues of what is evil and good, and dishonorable and honorable. On issues which cannot be measured or there is not practical method of determining the truth from different claims, the gods have also had disagreements similar to humans(Minnessotta, pg 1).  Therefore if gods quarrel over issues which we also quarrel about, basing out truth on morality depending on their opinions is misinformed since they do not have a consensus over such decisions also. This is also similar to deriving moral decisions from other sources of authority which diminish the inherent nature of a decision as being moral. A moral decision should be moral without outside influence since outside influence can be subjective which leads to questioning of the morality of the decision. A moral decisions should be superior to all the authorities invoked in defining a moral decision.  

Question 4

Jean-Paul Sarte states that “If a still, small voice speaks to you in the dead of the night, it is You who still decides if it is God, the Devil or just indigestion.” This statement applies to the Euthyphro problem because it state that an individual cannot draw conclusions on subjects like morality and holiness because they appeal authority. The morality of an act or decision cannot be determined by an outside force because it subject to everyone’s interpretation. For instance, if some gods consider act X as being holy and other do not, it is the individual who decides which gods to follow.  The freedom to decide which authorities to follow when deriving a moral decision is similar to making the decisions independently. This is because in the end it is the individual who’ll decide what a moral decision is and then choose an authority to justify their morality claim on the decision.

 To sum up, Euthyphro raises significant questions on how to justify decisions or acts as being holly or moral. Socrates reveals loopholes in all the justification made by Euthyphro because he bases them on the appeal form authorities such as gods. The dialogue reveals that an action or decision is not made moral or holly by external factors but because it is holy or moral inherently. The appeal from authority comes after identifying the moral or holly nature of a deed.

Work cited

Socrates’ dialogue with Euthyphro – Words of wisdom: Intro to philosophy. (2018, April 23). Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project – Simple Book Publishing.

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