Socrates vs Euthyphro

Socrates and Euthyphro Analysis

Socrates was a philosopher who challenged the way common knowledge was accepted and tried to develop a thought process that could explain what truth is. In Socrates’ conversation with Euthyphro, he uses what is known as Socratic irony to teach Euthyphro what he really knows to be true about holiness. Euthyphro discovers that he does not know as much as he claims to know and Socrates may have changed Euthyphro’s opinion on how knowledgeable he really is on the matter of holiness.

Socrates uses Socratic irony to stimulate critical thinking in Euthyphro. Socrates asks Euthyphro what the definition of holiness is and eventually Euthyphro responds with “It is what is loved by the Gods.” Socrates then asks him again to make sure that he is certain of the definition he has claimed to be true but Socrates also adds that unholy is the opposite of holy, and Euthyphro agrees. Then Socrates says that not all Gods love the same things, and that what Zeus may love, Cronos may hate, and by Euthyphro prosecuting his father, he may be doing something that would be considered unholy by his own definition of what holiness is. By allowing Euthyphro to use his own definition and see the fault in his own definition, Socrates has challenged Euthyphro’s knowledge and forced him to think about if he truly knows what holiness is. Socrates has in a way stripped down the lies of Euthyphro to nothing so that Euthyphro can see what his knowledge really is.

Socrates uses Socratic irony to show Euthyphro his own ignorance, but does not directly say that he is ignorant. In the beginning of the conversation, Euthyphro states that, “My most values possession, Socrates, is the exact knowledge I have of these matters.” He is essentially saying that he is a master of the knowledge of holiness and that above all things, he knows what holiness is. Then once Socrates establishes that prosecuting Euthyphro’s father could be an unholy act based on Euthyphro’s...