Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Castleberry's Philosophical Shorts: The Euthyphro Dilemma Part 1 (1/2)

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- Hello everyone, once again welcome to

Professor Castleberry's Philosophical Lecture Shorts.

I am professor Castleberry.

Today we are going to be

talking about the Euthyphro Dilemma

which is actually a portion of

Plato's dialogue called Euthyphro.

where Socrates and Euthyphro are talking about

the nature of piety and what it is.

Now to how we get to this point,

you might want to check my lecture notes

or kind of one of my classes then we can talk about it.

Today we're gonna concentrate specifically

on this one dilemma that appears

and it's probably,

it's definitely the most famous part of the dialogue.

And it's definitely one of probably most famous

arguments by Socrates.

One thing just to get things started

so we know where we're at.

They're questioning piety

and trying to give you if you don't know what it is

a general definition

but remember the whole nature of that dialogue

is to try to figure what piety actually is.

Basically it's this, it's right and wrong.

A stance of right and wrong in reference to the gods.

What the gods like or love tends to be what is good.

So if the gods like it when you're honest

then when you're honest is a good thing.

If the gods don't like or do no love it

then it's wrong for you to do.

So if the gods don't like when you lie

and you lie then it's wrong.

Piety is basically the

main idea of morality for the ancient Greeks.

But Socrates wants to know one main question.

We're arguing about this point,

we get to the big portion of this dialogue

where Socrates asks Euthyphro this question,

and it's basically this,

do the gods love piety because it is pious

or is it pious because the gods love it?

Now at first it looks like these are two ways

to phrase the exact same question

but if we take our time we can tell

that it means two different things.

They have totally two different meanings.

So let's start out with what A means.

So it says, do the gods love piety

because it is pious?

What Socrates means by that is if this is the case

that means that piety would be something

that is actually independent of the gods.

That they just happen to love it.

It's just coincidence they love it.

Piety actually exists outside of them.

Let me explain this.

So first want to say A actually would mean

that piety is independent.

Independent of the gods.

It's something like this,

if the gods love piety because it's pious they come across,

let's say they are,

the gods show up one day maybe they've created Earth

or whatever it might be,

they show up and see something like

a human being hitting another one

and they go, you know they look at that event

and go, you know there's something about that

I just don't like.

Something in it I don't like.

That is not pious.

What they're looking at,

there's something in the action itself

that gods come across and see it

and then go I don't like that thing.

And then they just happen to say they don't like it.

It has nothing to do whether they like it or not.

It has all to do with the action itself.

Another way to look at it is this.

If there where no gods, if the gods did not exist

and if this was the case,

could there still be piety?

And the answer would be yes absolutely.

What we're seeing here is piety

has nothing to do with the gods.

It is created or it exists,

excuse me it exists separately from the gods.

It just happens to be that gods of ancient Greece

coincidentally love the things that are pious

and hate the things that are unpious, are impious.

But piety is totally independent of the gods.

It is something that already exists in the action itself.

For another example, on this case whether the gods existed

or not, murder if it's wrong would always be wrong.

It has nothing to do with the gods.

If the gods one day came across and wanted to say,

well I don't think murder should be wrong anymore.

It doesn't matter.

It's not up to them.

Piety is independent of the gods.

Now B, or this could be B.

And this understanding is

a lot different than the first one.

Under this one, piety is actually dependent.

It is dependent on the gods.

So it what it means is,

before the gods come along

there is no such thing as piety or impiety.

There's no such thing in another sense of morality.

Everything in some way would be amoral.

I could murder you, you could hit me.

I could lie, we could cheat on each other,

whatever it might be it doesn't matter

because morality doesn't exist.

It only exists at the moment that the gods

can get together and say,

you now what I love that or I hate this.

The moment they claim they love it or hate it

is a moment when it becomes pious or impious.

Here's the example.

Murder is not wrong until the gods get together

and look at it and go,

you know what I don't think we love that.

I think we hate it.

At that precise moment that is when

that action will become impious

or in our terms immoral.

Now the big difference restated in another way

is thinking of it this way,

watch this let's go back here to B.

Think of it this way,

if the gods did not exist

would there be morality according to B?

And the answer would be absolutely not.

The gods are necessary or dependent for morality.

They have to exist.

So if there where no gods, there would be no piety.

There would be no morality.

So in another way we can look at both these

is in A it's almost like the gods come along

and discover piety.

It's always been there and they go,

oh look at that we discovered it.

And B is more like the gods created.

They are the creators of piety.

It doesn't exist until they go,

we love it, we hate it.

At that moment they create the moral imperative

or the pious imperative we could say.

Now, Socrates in his argument thinks that

one of these is better than the other.

Now which one is it?

To cut the spoiler out,

he's gonna say that A he believes is the better choice

and he's gonna say no to B.

He has two arguments okay.

As we'll see one argument is specifically against B.

It says this is why this is a really bad argument.

Then he has a positive argument

where this he's saying, this is why this is a good argument.

So he has a negative argument

and a positive to try to support A.

So let's start with how Socrates thinks of it

and let's talk about argument B.

Why not B?

Why is that the worse choice?

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