What new thing has happened, Socrates, that you have abandoned your stomping grounds in the Lyceum* and are now spending your time here, around the porch of the king*?

What new thing has happened, Socrates, that you have abandoned your stomping grounds in the Lyceum* and are now spending your time here, around the porch of the king*?

What new thing has happened, Socrates, that you have abandoned your stomping grounds in the Lyceum* and are now spending your time here, around the porch of the king*? 150 150 Nyagu

Euthyphro EUQUFRWN PLATO PLATWN euthyphrO EUQUFRWN PLATO PLATWN Translated by Cathal Woods and Ryan Pack 2007 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Euthyphro 2a b c d 3a b c 1 Euthyphro (Euth): What new thing has happened, Socrates, that you have abandoned your stomping grounds in the Lyceum* and are now spending your time here, around the porch of the king*? For surely you too are not involved in some suit before the king*, as I am. Socrates (So): The Athenians don’t just call it a suit, Euthyphro, but a public indictment.* Euth: What do you mean? Someone has indicted you, I suppose, since I certainly wouldn’t condemn you of the opposite, you indicting someone else. So: Certainly not. Euth: So someone else is indicting you? So: Absolutely. Euth: Who is this person? So: I don’t know the man very well myself, Euthyphro; I think he is a young and unknown person. Anyway, I believe they call him Meletos. He is from the Pitthean deme*, if you know of a Meletos from Pitthos with straight hair, not much of a beard, but with a hooked nose. Euth: I don’t know him, Socrates. But what charge has he indicted you on? So: On what charge? It’s no minor charge, I think, as it’s no small thing for a young man to be knowledgeable about so important an issue. For he, he says, knows how the young are corrupted and who their corruptors are. He’s probably somebody wise, and having seen how I in my ignorance corrupt the people of his generation, he is coming to tattle on me to the city, as though it were his mother. And he alone seems to me to be starting out in politics correctly, because the correct way is to first pay attention to how our young people will be the best possible, just as a good farmer probably cares first for his young plants, and after this to the others as well. And so Meletos too is presumably first rooting out us who corrupt the sprouting young people, as he puts it. Then after this it’s clear that, having turned his attention to the older people, he will become a source of many great goods for the city, as is likely to happen to someone who starts off in this way. Euth: I wish it were so, Socrates, but I’m afraid that the opposite might happen. Because it seems to me that by trying to wrong you he is starting out by recklessly harming the hearth of the city. And tell me, just what does he say you’re doing to corrupt the young? So: Strange things, you marvelous man, at least to hear him describe them, since he says I am a maker of gods, and because I make novel gods and do not acknowledge the old ones, he indicts me for their sake, he says. Euth: I understand, Socrates. It’s because you say the divine sign* comes to you occasionally. He has lodged this indictment because of your innovative religious ideas. And so he is obviously coming to the court intending to slander you, knowing that such things are easily misrepresented to the many. Indeed even in my case, whenever I say something in the assembly about religious matters, foretelling the future for them, they ridicule me as a madman, and yet I said nothing that was not true in what I foretold. Even so, they envy all of us who are like this. We should think nothing of them but fight them on their own ground. Euthyphro d e 4a b c 2 So: But my dear Euthyphro, being ridiculed is probably no big deal; indeed it seems to me that it doesn’t matter much to the Athenians if they think someone is wise, so long as he not capable of teaching his wisdom. They become outraged with anyone they suspect of also trying to shape others in some way, whether because they are envious, as you claim, or for some other reason. Euth: Which is why I have no great desire to have it put to the test, how they feel about me. So: It’s probably because you seem to rarely make yourself available and appear unwilling to teach your wisdom, whereas I fear that, because of my love of people, I strike them as someone who is bursting to talk to everybody, and not just without demanding payment, but would even be glad to compensate anyone who cared to listen to me. So as I was saying, if they intend to laugh at me, as you said happened to you, there would be nothing unpleasant about spending time in court playing around and laughing. But if they are going to be serious, it’s unclear at present how things will turn out, except to you prophets. Euth: Well, it will probably be nothing, Socrates, and you will fight your case satisfactorily, as I think I will fight mine, too. So: What exactly is your suit, Euthyphro? Are you defending or prosecuting it? Euth: I am prosecuting. So: Whom? Euth: A man whom by pursuing I will again appear crazy. So: But why? You’re pursuing someone who flies? Euth: He is long way from flying. As a matter of fact he happens to be well advanced in years. So: Who is he? Euth: My father. So: Your father, you fantastic fellow?! Euth: Absolutely. So: But what is the charge, and what are the circumstances? Euth: Murder, Socrates. So: Heracles! I think most people wouldn’t know how to act properly in such a case, since I don’t think that just anyone could take care of this correctly, but only someone, I suspect, who has progressed a long way in wisdom. Euth: By Zeus, a long way indeed, Socrates. So: Surely the person killed by your father is one of your relatives? It must be, since you would not prosecute him for murder on behalf of a stranger. Euth: It’s ridiculous, Socrates, that you think that it makes a difference whether the man killed is a stranger or a relative, and don’t think it is necessary to watch only for this, whether the killer killed legally or not, and if it was legal, to let him go, and if not, to prosecute him, if the killer, that is, shares one’s hearth and eats at the same table. Because the pollution is the same if you are aware that you share the guilt and do not both purify yourself and prosecute him in law. The victim, as a matter of fact, was a certain laborer of mine, and Euthyphro d e 5a b c d 3 when we were farming in Naxos he was employed by us there. Drunk and having been provoked by another one of our household, he slit this man’s throat. So my father bound his feet and hands, threw him into some ditch and sent a man here to inquire of the interpreter of religious law about what should be done. But during that time he paid no attention to the bound man and neglected him as a murderer and thought nothing of it if he died too, which is in fact what happened, since he died of hunger and cold and his bonds before the messenger returned from the interpreter. That’s why both my father and my other relatives are angry, because I am prosecuting my father on behalf of a murderer, when he didn’t kill him, they say, or if he did in fact kill him, well, since the man he killed was a murderer, one should not be concerned about such people—because, they say, it’s unholy for a son to prosecute his father for murder, not really knowing, Socrates, how the religious law stands with respect to holiness and unholiness. So: But by Zeus, do you, Euthyphro, think you have such accurate knowledge about how the religious laws stand, about both piety and impiety, that with these things having taken place in the way you describe, you are not afraid that, prosecuting your father, you might be committing another impiety in doing so? Euth: I would be of no use, Socrates, and neither would Euthyphro be better than the majority of men, if I did not have accurate knowledge of all such matters. So: Then it would be excellent for me to become a student of yours, marvelous Euthyphro, and prior to this dispute with Meletos I will challenge him in this very way, saying that while even in the past I used to make knowledge of religious law my top priority, now, because he says I err by judging rashly and innovating with respect to the religious laws, I have also become your student. “And,” I would say, “if you agree, Meletos, that Euthyphro is wise in such matters, then believe that I too worship properly and do not charge me. If not, see about bringing a charge against him, my teacher, rather than me, since he corrupts the elderly—me and his father—by teaching me and by rebuking and chastising him.” And if he is not convinced by me and doesn’t withdraw the charge or indict you in my place, shouldn’t I say the exact same thing in court as I said in challenging him? Euth: Yes by Zeus, Socrates. If he tried to indict me I think I would uncover in what way he is unsound and we would have found that the discussion in court would have been about him long before it was about me. So: And indeed, my dear Euthyphro, I recognize this and want to become a student of yours, seeing how practically everyone else and Meletos himself pretends not to notice you, but he sees through me so clearly and easily that he indicts me for impiety. So now, by Zeus, explain to me what you were just now affirming to know clearly: what sort of thing do you say holiness is, and unholiness, with respect to both murder and everything else? Or isn’t the pious the same as itself in every action, and the impious in turn is the complete opposite of the pious but the same as itself, and everything that in fact turns out to be impious has a single Euthyphro e 6a b c d 4 form with respect to its impiousness? Euth: It certainly is, Socrates. So: So tell me, what do you say the pious is, and what is the impious? Euth: Well now, I claim that the pious is what I am doing now, prosecuting someone who is guilty of wrongdoing, either of murder or temple robbery or anything else of the sort, whether it happens to be one’s father or mother or whoever else, and the impious is failing to prosecute. For observe, Socrates, how great a proof I will give you that this is how the law stands, one I have already given to others as well, which shows such actions to be correct—not yielding to impious people, that is, no matter who they happen to be. Because these very people also happen to worship Zeus as the best and most just of the gods, and agree that he put his own father in bonds because he unjustly swallowed his sons, and the father too castrated his own father for other similar reasons.* Yet they are sore at me because I am prosecuting my father for his injustice. And so they say opposite things about the gods and me. So: Maybe this, Euthyphro, is why I am being prosecuted for this crime, that whenever someone says such things about the gods, for some reason I find them hard to accept? On account of which, I suppose, someone will claim I misbehave. So now if you also, with your expertise in such matters, share these beliefs, it’s surely necessary, I suppose, that we too must agree, for else what will we say, those of us, that is, who admit openly that we know nothing about these matters? But by the god of friendship tell me, do you truly believe these things happened like this? Euth: These and still more amazing things, Socrates, that the many are unaware of. So: And do you believe there is really a war amongst the gods, with terrible feuds, even, and battles and many other such things, such as are recounted by the poets and the holy artists, and that have been elaborately decorated for us on other sacred objects and especially the robe covered with such designs which is brought up to the acropolis at the great Panathenaea?* Are we to say that these things are true, Euthyphro? Euth: Not only these, Socrates, but as I said just now, I could describe many other things about the divine laws to you in addition, if you want, which I am sure you will be astounded to hear. So: I wouldn’t be surprised. But you can describe these to me at leisure some other time. For the time being, however, try to describe more clearly what I asked you just now, since previously, my friend, you did not teach me well enough when I asked what the pious was but you told me that what you’re doing is something pious, prosecuting your father for murder. Euth: And what’s more, I spoke the truth, Socrates. So: Perhaps. But in fact, Euthyphro, you say there are many other pious things. Euth: Indeed there are. So: So remember that I did not request this from you, to teach me one or two of the many pious things, but to teach me the form itself by which everything pious is pious? For you said that it’s by one form that Euthyphro e 7a b c d e 5 impious things are somehow impious and pious things pious. Or don’t you remember? Euth: I certainly do. So: So then tell me whatever this form itself is, so that, by looking at it and using it as a paradigm, I can declare what you or anyone else might do of that kind to be pious, and if it is not of that kind, that it is not. Euth: Well if that’s what you want, Socrates, that’s what I’ll tell you. So: That’s exactly what I want. Euth: Well, what is beloved by the gods is pious, and what is not beloved by them is impious. So: Excellent, Euthyphro! With this you have answered in the way I was looking for you to answer. Whether or not it’s true, that I don’t quite know, but it’s clear that you will teach me how what you say is true. Euth: Absolutely. So: Come then, let’s look at what we said. An action or a person that is beloved by the gods is pious, while an action or person that is despised by the gods is impious. They are not the same, but complete opposites, the pious and impious. Isn’t that so? Euth: Indeed it is. So: And this seems right? Euth: I think so, Socrates. So: But wasn’t it also said that that gods are at odds with each other and disagree with one another and that there are feuds among them? Euth: Yes, it was. So: Disagreement about what is the cause of the hatred and anger, my good man? Let’s look at it this way. If we disagree, you and I, about quantity, over which of two groups is greater, would our disagreement over this make us enemies and angry with each other, or wouldn’t we quickly resolve the issue by resorting to counting? Euth: Certainly. So: And again if we disagreed about bigger and smaller, we would quickly put an end to the disagreement by resorting to measurement? Euth: That’s right. So: And we would use weighing, I presume, to reach a decision about heavier and lighter? Euth: How else? So: Then what topic, exactly, would divide us and what decision would we be unable to reach such that we would be enemies and angry with one another? Perhaps you don’t have an answer at hand, so see while I’m talking whether it’s the just and the unjust, and the noble and shameful, and the good and the bad. Isn’t it these things that divide us and about which we’re not able to come to a satisfactory decision and so become enemies of one another, whenever that happens, whether it’s me and you, or any other men? Euth: It is indeed this disagreement, Socrates, and over these things. So: What about the gods, Euthyphro? If they indeed disagree over something, don’t they disagree over these very things? Euth: It’s undoubtedly necessary. So: Then some of the gods think different things to be just, Euthyphro 8a b c d 6 according to you, worthy Euthyphro, and noble and shameful and good and bad, since they surely wouldn’t be at odds with one another unless they were disagreeing about these things. Right? Euth: You’re right. So: And so what each group thinks is noble and good and just, they also love these thing, and they hate the things that are the opposites of these? Euth: Certainly. So: Then according to you some of them think that these things are just, while others think they are unjust, the things that, because there’s a dispute, they are at odds about and are at war over. Isn’t this so? Euth: It is. So: The same things, it seems, are both hated by the gods and loved, and so would be both despised and beloved by them? Euth: It seems so. So: And the same things would be both pious and impious, Euthyphro, according to this argument? Euth: I’m afraid so. So: So you haven’t answered what I was asking, you marvelous man. Because I didn’t ask you for what is both pious and impious at once, and as it appears, both beloved and despised by the gods. As a result, Euthyphro, it wouldn’t be surprising if in doing what you’re doing now— punishing your father—you were doing something beloved by Zeus but despised by Kronos and Ouranos, and while it is dear to Hephaestos, it is despised by Hera, and if any other god disagrees with another on the subject, your action will appear the same way to them, too. Euth: But I believe, Socrates, that on this matter at least none of the gods will disagree with any other, that any man who has killed another person unjustly need not pay the penalty. So: What’s that? Haven’t you ever heard a human being arguing that someone who killed unjustly or did something else unjustly should not pay the penalty? Euth: There’s no end to these arguments, both outside and inside the courts, since people commit so many injustices and do and say anything to escape the punishment. So: Do they actually agree that they are guilty, Euthyphro, and despite agreeing they nonetheless say that they shouldn’t pay the penalty? Euth: They don’t agree on that at all. So: So they don’t do or say everything, since, I think, they don’t dare to make this claim nor do they argue that if they in fact are guilty they should not pay the penalty, but I think they claim that they’re not guilty. Right? Euth: That’s true. So: So they don’t argue, at least, that the guilty person shouldn’t pay the penalty, but perhaps they argue about who the guilty party is and what he did and when. Euth: That’s true. So: Doesn’t the very same thing happen to the gods, too, if indeed, as you said, they are at odds about just and unjust things, some saying that Euthyphro e 9a b c d e 7 a god commits an injustice against another one, while others deny it? But absolutely no one at all, you marvelous man, either god or human, dares to say that the guilty person need not pay the penalty. Euth: Yes. What you say is true, Socrates, for the most part. So: But I think that those who dispute, Euthyphro, both men and gods, if the gods actually dispute, argue over the particulars of what was done. Differing over a certain action, some say that it was done justly, others that it was done unjustly. Isn’t that so? Euth: Certainly. So: Come now, my dear Euthyphro. So that I can become wiser, teach me too what evidence you have that all the gods think the man was killed unjustly, the one who committed murder while he was working for you, and was bound by the master of the man he killed, and died from his bonds before the servant could learn from the interpreter what ought to be done in his case, and is the sort of person on whose behalf it is proper for a son to prosecute his father and make an allegation of murder. Come, try to give me a clear indication of how in this case more than all others the gods think that this action is proper. If you could point this out to me satisfactorily I would never stop praising you for your wisdom. Euth: But this is probably quite a task, Socrates, though I could show it to you very clearly, even so. So: I understand. It’s because you think I’m a slower learner than the judges, since you could make it clear to them in what way these actions are unjust and how the gods all hate such things. Euth: Very clear indeed, Socrates, if only they would listen to what I have to say. So: Of course they’ll listen, so long as they think you speak well. While you were speaking the following occurred to me and I thought to myself, “Even if Euthyphro convincingly shows me that all the gods think this kind of death is unjust, what at all will I have learned from Euthyphro about what the pious and the impious are? Because while …
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