I'm trying to understand 'Euthyphro', a popular book by Plato about Socrates. I believe I'm understanding what Socrates is saying; however I do not think it is correct.
Referring to 10d to 11b
Socrates forces Euthyphro make a definition 'piety'. Then, Euthyphro, quite carelessly, says 'Something loved by all gods is pious.'
Socrates questions this statement in a lot ways to point out that, in fact, Euthyphro knows nothing about so-called piety.
One of the methods that Socrates chose is to show that 'god-loved' and 'pious' are logically not equal. In order to that, first, Socrates persuades Euthyphro (and me) that:
It is not being loved by those who love it because it is something loved, but it is something loved because it is being loved by them
What I understand from this statement is that Socrates is suggesting that something is loved because there exists something that loves it. So a necessary condition for A to be loved is that there exists something that loves A. It would be false to say something loves A because it is inherently loved. That makes sense to me.
Then the god-loved is not the same as the pious, Euthyphro, nor the pious the same as the god-loved, as you say it is, but one differs from the other.
Socrates defends his statement:
Because we agree that the pious is being loved for this reason, that it is pious, but it is not pious because it is being loved. Is that not so? And that the god-loved, on the other hand, is so because it is being loved by the gods, by the very fact of being loved, but it is not being loved because it is god-loved.
He, then, concludes:
But if the god-loved and the pious were the same, my dear Euthyphro, then if the pious was being loved because it was pious, the god-loved would also be being loved because it was god-loved; and if the god-loved was god-loved because it was being loved by the gods, then the pious would also be pious because it was being loved by the gods. But now you see that they are in opposite cases as being altogether different from each other: the one is such as to be loved because it is being loved, the other is being loved because it is such as to be loved.
Here Socrates says that if B is pious, then B is god-loved. (Socrates says something is loved because it is pious); but, according to him, we cannot say if B is god-loved, then it is pious.
I do not think this statement is similar to that statement said by him earlier (my first quote). Let me name statements said by Socrates:
Something is not being loved by those who love it because it is something loved; but it is something loved because it is being loved by them
Pious is being loved because it is pious; but it is not pious because it is being loved.
God-loved, is so because it is being loved by the gods, by the very fact of being loved, but it is not being loved because it is god-loved.
My point: I do not agree with Socrates that statement Q is a consequence of P. I agree with P and I also agree that R is a natural consequence of P. But I cannot see what does Q have to do with P.
To me, it is quite logical to define "pious" as "god-loved" provided "god-loved" is explained well. In this case the necessary and satisfactory condition of god-loved is to be loved by all gods. So if we say something is pious if and it is god-loved; we conclude: if something is loved by all gods, then it is pious. I cannot see the logical mistake here.
Please bear in mind that, I think previous attempts of Socrates are valid. Euthyphro fails to explain why are there wars between gods. If there are wars between them, then we can find something loved by some gods, disliked by other. This is a very valid point. But we can still define "pious" as "something loved by all gods". This itself is not erroneous unlike what Socrates says.
- All quotes are directly quoted from Five Dialogues - Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, Plato, Second Edition, Translated by G. M. A. Grube, Revised by John M. Cooper.
- All emphasis are mine.