Euthyphro

Plato’s Euthyphro leads the reader round a dizzying logical circle that seems to form a coherent reductio ad absurdum argument against the moral value of polytheistic religion with its “hard to accept” (6a) stories that “are told by the poets” (6c).

This idea has become so deeply ingrained in our culture that it operates as a sort of common sense. Monotheists direct it at polytheist and rival monotheists, polytheists against monotheists and rival polytheists, atheists against all sorts of religious belief.

Superficially, the Euthyphro does provide a model for criticizing ‘irrational’ religious discourse. Moreover, in it can be seen the outline of Plato’s subsequent inclusion of theater among ‘irrational’ discourses. However, like many Platonic dialogues, the dialogue does not disclose its truth in the patter that transpires between Socrates and his victim.

The dialogue discloses its truth when the reader uses the failures of the victim as a guide for considering the issues raised by the dialogue. As Jaspers affectionately considered Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, so we ought to consider the disputants’ failures—as shipwrecks that we can use to delineate the dangerous shoals.

The subpages below explore one element of the Euthyphro. They can be read in sequence to form a coherent paper of sorts or they can be read as snapshots, little shocks that I hope enliven the discourse.

1. How I Read This Dialogue

2. Socio-Cultural Contexts

3. Philosopher vs. Fortune-Teller

4. Getting Personal

5. Euthyphro’s Wisdom

6. Examining Euthyphro’s Case

7. The Prosecution Speaks, Pt. 1

8. The Prosecution Speaks, Pt. 2

9. Truth and Belief

10. Of Which the Majority Knows Not

11. What is Piety After All?

One response

27 12 2008
[Update] Reading Lists « Dreaming the Future Closer

[…] substantially, I have added an extended close reading of Plato’s dialogue the Euthyphro to the site.  It emerges from a better understanding of who Euthyphro the character was and whathe […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: