Trube site uses cookies. By adding this context as part of the dialogue, Plato is setting up an ironic situation in order to reveal the ridiculousness of the charges. Many believe Euthyphro crazy to prosecute his own father. At this point Euthyphro gets frustrated. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Surely you are not prosecuting anyone before the king-archon as I am? Socrates: The Athenians do not call this a prosecution but an indictment, Euthyphro.

Euthyphro: What is this you say? Someone must have indicted you, for you are not going to tell me that you have indicted someone else. Socrates: No indeed. Euthyphro: But someone else has indicted you? Socrates: Quite so. Euthyphro: Who is he? Socrates: I do not really know him myself, Euthyphro.

He is apparently young and unknown. They call him Meletus, I believe. He belongs to the Pitthean deme, if you know anyone from that deme named Meletus, with long hair, not much of a beard, and a rather aquiline nose.

What charge does he bring against you? Socrates: What charge? A not ignoble one I think, for it is no small thing for a young man to have knowledge of such an important subject.

He says he knows how our young men are corrupted and who corrupts them. He is likely to be wise, and when he sees my ignorance corrupting his contemporaries, he proceeds to accuse me to the city as to their mother. I think he is the only one of our public men to start out the right way, for it is right to care first that the young should be as good as possible, just as a good farmer is likely to take care of the young plants first, and of the others later.

So, too, Meletus first gets rid of us who corrupt the young shoots, as he says, and then afterwards he will obviously take care of the older ones and become a source of great blessings for the city, as seems likely to happen to one who started out this way.

Euthyphro: I could wish this were true, Socrates, but I fear the opposite may happen. He seems to me to start out by harming the very heart of the city by attempting to wrong you.

Tell me, what does he say you do to corrupt the young? Socrates: Strange things, to hear him tell it, for he says that I am a maker of gods, and on the ground that I create new gods while not believing in the old gods, he has indicted me for their sake, as he puts it. Euthyphro: I understand, Socrates. This is because you say that the divine sign keeps coming to you.

So he has written this indictment against you as one who makes innovations in religious matters, and he comes to court to slander you, knowing that such things are easily misrepresented to the crowd. The same is true in my case. Whenever I speak of divine matters in the assembly and foretell the future, they laugh me down as if I were crazy; and yet I have foretold nothing that did not happen.

Nevertheless, they envy all of us who do this. One need not worry about them, but meet them head-on. Socrates: My dear Euthyphro, to be laughed at does not matter perhaps, for the Athenians do not mind anyone they think clever, as long as he does not teach his own wisdom, but if they think that he makes others to be like himself they get angry, whether through envy, as you say, or for some other reason.

Euthyphro: I have certainly no desire to test their feelings towards me in this matter. If then they were intending to laugh at me, as you say they laugh at you, there would be nothing unpleasant in their spending their time in court laughing and jesting, but if they are going to be serious, the outcome is not clear except to you prophets.

Euthyphro: Perhaps it will come to nothing, Socrates, and you will fight your case as you think best, as I think I will mine. Socrates and Euthyphro have come before the king ruler commander for a legal judgment. In the altered state we come before the judge ruler to have our thinking judged. He is long-haired and without much of a beard. These are signs of youth. Because of his youth, it is ironic that he knows so much about what corrupts the young. So, we have an ironic reversal, in which the young and inexperienced Meletus is wise, while the adult experienced Socrates is ignorant.

Socrates knows nothing himself and destroys freewill moralism, which he reveals to have no true knowledge of itself. Socrates agrees that it is best to care for the youth that they become as good as can be. The care will be like a farmer caring for plants.

This is analogous to god caring for the branching paths of plant growth. Then he will care for the older people and will be a source of great good for the city. This is an ironic inversion. The youth become as good as possible, not by avoiding egodeath and thereby staying in perpetual youth, but by passing through it into true adult maturity.

Socrates is thus accused of elevating himself above normal human agency. So, Socrates talks of a direct messenger from the divine to him, an individual relation to the divine outside of the jurisdiction of the traditional collective cults. Euthyphro points this out and links it to his own activity as a self-proclaimed prophet.

He looks down on the majority, saying that it is easy to misrepresent innovations about the divine to them. He complains that they laugh at him in the assembly of citizens gathered to discuss matters of public policy and are jealous of them.

Euthyphro characterizes himself and Socrates as outsiders to the majority of Athenians with respect to their relation to the divine. Here we can see emerge the combativeness that will be typical of his characterization in the dialogue.

Socrates reminds Euthyphro that his case has more serious consequences than being laughed at. He hypothesizes that Euthyphro is not in the same sort of danger because he does teach his wisdom. Nonetheless, Socrates criticizes the rest of the Athenians for their hostility to sincere teachers. All this is a typical Platonic inversion of the other public intellectuals of the time, conventionally called Sophists.

Hence the suspicion that they only taught what they taught to make money, not to truly improve the student. The ego is condemned for its claims and imprisoned or killed.

But another part of us is mercifully saved. The judge is both harsh and benevolent. While Socrates does often speak of a divine voice, this is precisely the sort of feature that Euthyphro as a prophet would single out and focus on.

The accusation that Socrates corrupts the youth can allude to the confusion caused by re-introducing egoic thinking into a deterministic system; Socrates is a dangerous destabilizing element in the city that needs to be purged.

As a matter of context we have to recognize that the disproving in the altered state of the youthful claim to independent self-command was present in the city already. What, then, do we make of the accusation against Socrates and of his eventual condemnation? Socrates is brought to trial not for teaching the youth about eternalism, but for the way he teaches eternalism.

The specific charges are too some extent a cover. Either Socrates introduces a deterministic system new gods and disbelieves in the egoic system old gods and thereby destroys the youth; or Socrates rebelliously disbelieves in the traditional deterministic system old gods and teaches the innovation of freewillist thinking new gods , which confuses and corrupts the youth.

From other evidence it is clear that there was a political motive to the accusations. Socrates became viewed as a cause of their sedition and his influence needed to be removed. Politics and religion were intertwined, so the legal charges against Socrates were religious in nature.

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The charges against Socrates as depicted in Plato’s Euthyphro

To look at it differently, Socrates thinks a definition of X captures the essence of X: Euthyphor his answer to the follow-up question seems to amount to saying the gods love pious things because the gods love them, which is circular and nonsensical. He asks Euthyphro to teach him about what piety and impiety are, so that he can see for himself whether what Euthyphro is doing to his father is a pious act. However, on the other hand, if things are pious independently of the gods, and the go end up loving the pious things because they are already pious, then it looks like the role of the gods is diminished. Euthyphro never quite picks up on this thread that Socrates offers, but instead he offers a fourth definition that gets closer, but still misses the mark. Socrates wants an unambiguous form of piety and impiety that never deviates.



Tygolkis When Socrates attempts to get him to elaborate on that response, Euthyphro goes off track; he now states that piety is an exchange of needs between gods and men. While heading to court to answer charges of corrupting the youth, Socrates meets up with Euthyphro who is reporting his father for murder. You are commenting using your WordPress. But he asks Euthyphro about the order of explanation: Socrates decides to help him out, hinting that piety is a part of justice, a sub-category; piety is justice in relation to the gods.


Plato Translated by G M a Grube


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