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A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science

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Volume 52, Issue 2


Wrong Turns in the Euthyphro

Paul Woodruff
Published Online: 2018-06-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0011


No Socratic theory of forms is implied by the questions Socrates asks in Plato’s Euthyphro. His questions appear to commit him to the existence of a certain kind of paradigm form in the Euthyphro, but there is no place for such a form in his philosophy, and that is a good thing, for such a form cannot exist. As stated, the main question does not have an answer, but it is reasonable for Socrates to ask it in the context of Euthyphro’s claims. if they could be supported, Socrates’ question would have an answer. But Euthyphro’s claims are not supportable. The turn toward a paradigm form for piety is a wrong turn; the turn toward the part-whole relation is another. Piety cannot be a proper part of justice on any view that is plausibly Socratic. Piety concerns the whole of virtue in a way that distinguishes it from primary virtues such as justice, and this point prepares the way for Socrates’ defense in the Apology.

Keywords: socrates; piety; service to the gods; nurture of the soul; socratic ignorance


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-06-16

Published in Print: 2019-04-24

Citation Information: Apeiron, Volume 52, Issue 2, Pages 117–136, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2018-0011.

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