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Philosophy Exam - the Euthyphro Problem

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In The Euthyphro Problem, Euthyphro asks Socrates whether or not he should tell the courts about his father's murdering of a slave that has committed a murder. Euthyphro who is passionately religious is under the impression that telling the courts is a good thing, it is good because it what the gods command (Plato 359). He looks to his mentor Socrates for guidance on his dilemma. Socrates strategically asks if the good is good because the gods love it or do the gods love the good because it is good. Euthyphro is confused and unable to deliberate between the distinctions of good. Through examples from Socrates' questioning of Euthyphro and critical analysis, I will attempt to explain "The Euthyphro Problem" and determine which of the two options would produce the most favorable outcome to Euthyphro's problem.

The questions Socrates asks so that he can prove to Euthyphro what he should do, is if the good is good because the gods love it or if the gods love the good because it is good. Euthyphro's response at first is that good is what the gods love, and what the gods hate is the bad (Plato 359). If this is indeed true than the gods decide what to command on what is already known to be morally good; so what the gods believe to be right was already right before they commanded it. An analogy Socrates uses to further test Euthyphro is a stone that is carried (Plato 359). The question he poses to Euthyphro is whether the stone is being carried because he can carry it or is it carried because it can be carried (Plato 359). This is the question of accidental versus necessary properties of an object. An accidental property of an object is one that it happens to have but that it could lack (Stanford Encyclopedia). The accidental property in this example is referring to the question of whether the stone is carried because he can carry it. The necessary property of an object is a characteristic that the object must have (Stanford Encyclopedia); which answers the question of why the stone can be carried. A stone can be a stone without having someone carrying it. In the context of the Euthyphro problem this can be translated to an action being right without the gods deeming it right. A stone however, cannot be a stone unless it is in fact a stone i.e. it is a tangible piece of preserved matter. Translated into the Euthyphro problem, a deed is good if it creates a beneficial conclusion and does not cause harm for any of the parties involved, a necessary characteristic of a good action.

Socrates continues on with other analogies that further prove to Euthyphro that things can be defined by stating exactly what they are. The fact that something is because someone says it to be is arbitrary and we should examine whether or not it is a sound statement (Plato 359). Socrates proves that which is loved is not loved by those who love it because it is being loved, but it is being loved because they love it (Plato 360). He



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