Presentation on theme: "Socrates and Plato Euthyphro, Apology, and Phaedo Unit 2: Greece Honors 2101, Fall 2006 Bryan Benham."— Presentation transcript:
Socrates and Plato Euthyphro, Apology, and Phaedo Unit 2: Greece Honors 2101, Fall 2006 Bryan Benham
The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates (Plato’s Apology)
Historical Setting Athens, Post-Peloponnesian War –Athens defeated in 404 –Thirty Tyrants and restoration of democracy –Socrates’ trial and execution in 399 –Plato wrote years later The New Learning and Greek Tradition –Sophists –Oracular & Mystery Religions
Apology & Phaedo “Defense” of Socrates –Charged with corrupting the youth, and; –Impiety (“introducing new gods”) Socratic Mission –Oracle from Delphi: Socratic wisdom? –Asked those who claim to be wise, but demonstrated they were not wise. –A philosophic hero?
Euthyphro A dialogue on the nature of “piety” Hoison (Gk.): (a.) belief in religious principles, ritual and prayer; (b.) righteousness or morality; (c./archaic) loyalty to parents and family. Elenchus (Gk.): –Rational inquiry using dialectic methods (Q & A) –Seeks universal definition of moral concepts (genus/species, reductio, and analogy) –Usually ends unresolved (ignoratio elenchi: “ignorance of proof”)
Structure of Euthyphro Set-up Def. 3Def. 1Def. 2 Obj. Dilemma Horn A Horn B Objs. unresolved Analogies Definition
Meeting Euthyphro Porch of King-Archon (the courthouse) –Where Socrates is waiting to be tried Euthyphro to prosecute a case –Against his own father –For (negligently) killing a slave –Claims he is doing what is right; acting out of piety*
First Definition Piety1 = prosecuting the wrong-doer (5e) Socrates’ Objection –Not the right kind of definition –It is an example or description of an action, but not a general account (definition) –Looking for the genus-species definition
Second Definition Piety2 = what is dear to the gods; impiety is what is not dear to the gods. (7a) Socrates’ Objection (Dilemma) –Two meanings of ‘dear to the gods’ –Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? (10a)
The Dilemma Option A: If pious because it is loved by the gods, then piety is arbitrary. (8a-b) Gods disagree, are in discord, so an action can be both pious and impious; or the gods can change their mind. Option B: If loved by the gods because it is pious, then still must determine what piety is. (9a-b) Without reducing to Option A, above.
Third Definition Piety3 = justice, i.e., a part of justice concerned with the care of the gods (12e) Socrates’ Objection –The meaning of “care of the gods” is unclear
Care of the gods (A) Option A: “care” is similar to “care for horses”, in which the aim is the well-being or benefit of the horse; so piety is care aimed at the well- being of the gods. (13e) But, this is unsatisfactory because why would the gods need our care in this way?
Care of the gods (B) Option B: “care” is like the service afforded to a master, which benefits the master; such as saying pleasing things to the gods at prayer/sacrifice, and the knowledge of the proper ritual (gift-giving or bribery). (14b) But, this is unsatisfactory because not clear how giving praise, gifts, or simply bribes to the gods is beneficial to them. Leads back to the dilemma of the second definition. (15b-c)
Euthyphro leaves The dialogue finishes with Euthyphro storming off, thinking Socrates is ridiculous. Does Socrates show that Euthyphro claims wisdom he does not actually have? (viz. Apology) Why do you think the dialogue ends without resolution? What is the lesson, if any, to be learned? Is Socrates on a fools’ errand? Merely “philosophizing” to no end?
Some Thoughts In Euthyphro Plato/Socrates rejects a divine justification for morality (the dilemma of the 2nd definition), in favor of a more rational account. In Republic Plato revisits the notion of justice, and will reject a conventional definition of it (Bk 1). Consider ‘piety’ and ‘justice’ as essentially equivalent to morality, or what is right/wrong; what alternative is left to Plato?