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Philosophy of Religion – Sept 12th.docx

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PHIL 263
Jacqueline M Davies

Philosophy of Religion – Sept. 12   Plato’s Euthyphro: Euthyphro is among Plato’s early dialogues Features/is about Socrates Probably fairly historically accurate (according to theory) Socrates was a historical person, but most of what we know about him is from Plato Socrates that is always present in Platonic dialogues shifts from being Plato’s teacher and idol to being a mouthpiece for Plato’s own philosophy as it developed Socrates may have not had a developed doctrine, but he did have a practice to help people see the flaws in their own thinking Had a to-the-death commitment to wisdom Euthyphro was set in 395 BCE We know this because we know when the trial and death of Socrates happened Euthyphro happened in the antechambers of the court room just before the trial Euthyphro is prosecuting his own father for the murder of a slave who had killed someone else Death of the slave was accidental Family of Euthyphro thought this was outrageous – offense and disrespect against the father His family says he is impious Euthyphro is indignant about the whole thing Thinks he is a soothsayer – special powers about knowing what is true and just in terms of what is understood by the gods Socrates claims it is great so Euthyphro can explain to him what piety is Socratic irony – doesn’t really expect anything Socrates was charged with impiety and corruption of the youth of Athens Piety Life and death matter for Socrates Hard for many contemporary readers to grasp – almost an antique word What is the nature of Socrates’ piety, impiety, or both? This question goes beyond his belief in the gods in into a bigger issue Euthyphro thinks that piety is about doing what the gods want you to do Can tell through stories and consulting those with special connections to gods Greek stories were very complicated and morally obscure Socrates easily proves this false Piety is almost impossible to define What is the meaning that Socrates is implicitly advocating? Do we possess it by a different name? Is it a good thing? American exceptionalism USA, with support, has played the role of police of the world Interference/ enforcement of American ideals on others Attempt to export or share certain values In a more positive light, it could be argued that the US values are objectively right Human rights are in danger and being violated – this is a universal value Ignorance is not a defense in terms of nations who violate human rights by wrongly claiming that it is not a violation S
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