Philo1305 January 23, 2012
Topic: Is Euthyphro an absolutist or a relativist?
The Universal Standard of Judgement revolves around defining what is Holiness/Piety.
He then relates it to the act, which is Euthyphro’s father’s actions (not returning to his
slave in time to save his life).
In this story, Socrates moves Euthyphro from a state of double ignorance, to perhaps a
state of single ignorance.
1. “What I am doing.” P. 14 5e
o An example is not a definition.
2. “What is agreeable to the gods is holy.” P. 16 7a
o Because the gods are in tension and war amongst themselves, they do not always
3. “What all approve of is holy.” P. 20 9e.
o Socrates: Is what the gods approve holy, or is it approved because it is holy? He
is asking if Euthyphro is implying that the definition is (A) or (B).
(A) Piety is what is approved by the god’s. = RELATIVISTIC
(B) Piety is first discovered by the gods, then it is approved. =
4. “Everything holy is just.” P. 23 11e
5. “Holy is part of justice.” P. 24 12d
6. “Looking after the gods.” P. 25 12e
7. “Service to the gods.” P. 26 13d
8. “Science of sacrifice and prayer.” P. 28 14c
9. “Science of requests and donations.” P. 28 14d
10. “Piety is what is approved by the gods.” P.29 15b
o THE EXACT SAME AS HIS 3RD RESPONSE
In the end, Euthyphro leaves the courts because – while he does not admit it – Socrates has
brought him to a state of single ignorance.
- By Intent = One intends to say something absolute, but being wrong makes one a
relativist. (E.g. One puts $5 in his pocket, drops it without knowing, but thinking he still
has it in his pocket, states he has it in his pocket, he is in double ignorance and therefore
The first nine replies make Euthyphro an absolutist – he presents a definition that only
comes from him. Thus in fact he is relativistic.
The tenth one indicates that he acknowledges that he doesn’t know, and is therefore in a
state of single ignorance.
Theology is known as the study of God. There are two types of theology: Revealed
Theology (God speaking to us in terms of reality; knowledge of God by way of special
revelation), and Natural Theology (humanity seeking God solely according to unaided
intellect; knowledge of God by way of natural intellect that is by way of philosophy).
We are interested in the philosophical proofs for God’s existence. There are two basic
proofs for God’ s existence:
o A Posteriori
Arguing for God by means of sense experience.
We are looking at the material world, and trying to work from there to the
conclusion that God exists.
o The question becomes is this chain of causation infinite or
finite? Either infinite or finite, or not infinite therefore
finite. The argument then becomes if something is infinite
as its beginning, then it can never reach where it is
now…because it is infinite. (This is a particular argument
o A Priori
Arguing for God independent of sense experience.
We work solely and exclusively with the mind independent of any sense