Socratic Piety Essay, Research Paper

Socratic Piety

& # 8220 ; You were on the point of making so, but you turned off. If you had given that reply, I should now hold acquired from you sufficient cognition of the nature of piety. & # 8221 ; ( Euthyphro 14c ) To understand why Socrates was torturing Euthyphro throughout this duologue and why he considers himself to be & # 8220 ; the God & # 8217 ; s gift to you & # 8221 ; ( Apology 30e ) , it is necessary to first analyze what Socrates himself believes the nature of piousness is. Through a careful analysis of Socrates & # 8217 ; ain words in the Euthyphro, Apology, and Protagoras, it is possible to come to a concrete decision of what Socrates viewed the virtuousness of piousness to be.

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If we can accept Socrates & # 8217 ; parts to the Euthyphro, so he believed that piousness was some kind of service to the Gods, like a craftsman assisting the Gods to bring forth something good. ( Brickhouse and Smith 66 ) The job with this definition is that Euthyphro ne’er appropriately elaborates on what it is precisely that a pious individual is able to bring forth in functioning the Gods. His eventually ejaculates the about absurd & # 8220 ; many all right things, Socrates & # 8221 ; ( Euthyphro 13e ) in an effort to guard off any farther inquiries doing piousness about seem as some sort of system of exchange between the Gods and work forces. Socrates believes that piousness is non & # 8220 ; an art of commercial exchanges between Gods and work forces & # 8221 ; since the Gods require no gifts from us while we are in demand of the gifts they have to offer. ( Vlastos 174 )

Furthermore, Socrates culls Euthyphro & # 8217 ; s efforts to specify piousness as something beloved to the Gods. Piety does non depend on any outside influences like the love of the Gods or the manner anyone feels about it. It has its ain individuality curtailing any reading by work forces or Gods. ( Vlastos 165 ) From these hints dropped in the Euthyphro, it can be concluded that Socrates viewed piousness as some sort of changeless behaviour outside of the influences of work forces or Gods. Piety besides can be slackly thought of as some kind of service that work forces execute for the Gods, but to what terminal has yet to be discovered.

When Socrates enterprises to explicate himself in the Apology, a much more consistent image what he believes piousness to be comes into position. In supporting himself against the charges of Meletus in respects to his impiousness, Socrates claims that he is functioning the God and therefore is non impious in his philosophical mission because he was ordered to make as he has done. ( Brickhouse and Smith 66 ) To appreciate how this mission is genuinely pious and why Socrates believes it to be, one must analyze the God that Socrates refers to. For Socrates, the Gods are non fallacious and wish the best for the Athenians. In this wishing the best, they need an agent, viz. Socrates, to seek and do people analyze their ain beliefs in order that they may come to better 1s and by making so come to derive wisdom. ( Vlastos 173-74 )

Turning now to the Protagoras, we can come to larn what the nature of this wisdom that Socrates efforts to derive and learn is. Through a long and drawn out statement with the Sophist Protagoras, Socrates argues for the integrity of all virtuousnesss through wisdom, which

is defined as true cognition of good and evil. If one is in ownership of such wisdom, so one will non be able to of all time do a pick that goes against what virtuousness demands. Basically what Socrates attempts to acquire across is that through deriving wisdom entirely, an person may derive an apprehension of every other virtuousness as good. Wisdom is hence the beginning of piousness amongst the others.

Now armed with this image of wisdom, we may match it with Socrates & # 8217 ; mission and his belief of the God. If the God were genuinely wise, as Socrates believes him to be, so he would be guided by a clear cognition of the virtuousnesss. If this is the instance, the God, wishing the best for world which does non possess this wisdom, would want to learn adult male in order that world might break itself. The job is that the God is non able to merely look to all work forces and bestow upon them this wisdom. They require an agent to travel approximately to the people to try to hale them into analyzing their beliefs. Socrates claims to be such an agent. ( Vlastos 177 )

Finally, a clear apprehension of Socratic piousness can be surmised from the information contained within these three duologues. Piety is the manner in which one gives assistance to the God in advancing wisdom in other human existences. ( Brickhouse and Smith 68 ) Ironically, when Socrates tells Euthyphro that he was on the brink of unwraping the true nature of piousness, he was non lying. Euthyphro, through his hapless efforts to teach Socrates on the nature of piousness, was in some manner about being himself pious. The fact that he could non link his ain efforts with the consequence of seeking to break other work forces led to his confusion and deficiency of ability to reply coherently.

Socrates is in many ways offering a extremist position of the true nature of piousness. A virtuousness that at the clip had been held to be some set of regulations refering adult males behavior in respects towards the Gods now became a more mortal virtuousness in how to do mankind itself more god-like. ( Vlastos 176 ) Further, Socrates claims he genuinely is non a pious individual and to exemplify this calls one time once more upon the thought of a craftsman. Knowledge of a trade does non needfully do one a practician of that trade and merely a genuinely pious individual is able to cleanly reproduce their trade. ( Brickhouse and Smith 67-68 )

Although Socrates ne’er concretely states what he believes piousness to be, one can patch together his reading through the Euthyphro, Apology, and Protagoras. Piety is leting yourself to be the agent of the wise God in order to assist do other work forces wise every bit good. Socrates sees this as his mission and believes that he is being slightly pious through his actions though he claims that he does non hold the true sense of piousness. The ground for this denial of ownership stems from piousness & # 8217 ; s topographic point amongst the virtuousnesss and the integrity of them through wisdom. A true apprehension of piousness stems from a clear apprehension of good and evil and to hold that apprehension is to hold wisdom. That the Athenians had a adult male who, even cognizing he didn & # 8217 ; Ts have something, tried to assist others achieve it, is genuinely a fact which 1 should see a & # 8220 ; gift from the God & # 8221 ; .


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