Book Report on Euthyphro by Plato

Plato’s Euthyphro is one of one of the philosophical dialogues of the 21st century. In the dialogue is between Socrates and Euthyphro, the conversation focuses on elucidating the concept of piety. The dialogue occurs outside the Athens court, just a few weeks before the trial of Socrates that finally ended in his forced suicide (Plato, 380 B.C.E). In this trial, Meletus has accused Socrates of impiety, and Euthyphro wants to prosecute his father for killing a murderer. While outside the court, Socrates flatters Euthyphro by telling him that he looks like a great expert in matters of religion because he is so determined to prosecute his fathers on such a questionable charge. At this point, Euthyphro agrees that he, of course, has all the knowledge about what is piety. Then, Socrates asks Euthyphro to teach him about what is piety since this teaching could be useful in Socrates’ trial against Meletus (Plato, 380 B.C.E).  

As Euthyphro starts to define piety, Socrates finds flaws in Euthypro’s five successive definitions, and he rejects all of them. Being unable to rectify his faulty definitions, Euthyphro walks out of the conversation. He fails to give Socrates a satisfactory and a sticky definition. As for Socrates, he claims that he was unable to come up with a solid definition of piety and hence he learned nothing from the conversation, which appears as Socratic irony. Socrates pretends not to know anything so that he may elicit knowledge from Euthyphro. However, Socrates comes out as the wiser one compared to his conversation partner. He does not get any useful material to use in defense against his impiety charges. However, it appears that Socrates never intended to gain any insights (Plato, 380 B.C.E).

The most interesting thing about this conversation is that it ends in an inconclusive manner. Though such inconclusiveness is not unique to Euthyphro, he mentions that it is worth investigating. Euthyphro questions Plato suggestion about the lack of a proper definition about piety. Does he suggest that there is no one characteristic common to all holy deeds? If he believes that there is a common connection, why didn’t he reveals it in the dialogue?

The inconclusiveness of this dialogue can be connected to the form of the dialogue itself and the irony that Socrates uses. The primary goal of Plato is to educate his audience; thus he believes that we can only acquire knowledge when we firmly account for and justify our true beliefs. Therefore, teaching is not merely an issue of providing the correct answers to questions. On the contrary, it is all a matter of guiding the student towards the correct answers and making sure that the student can not only explain but also justify the answers instead of merely repeating them. This dialogue form is the most suitable for this teaching because it reveals how Socrates leads and guides Euthyphro through his reasoning. Consequently, he lets him sort things out for himself.

The dialogue is quite a model of philosophical critique, analysis, and argumentation. It stages how belief and action are interconnected in such a manner that our actions are based on belief hence false beliefs result in false actions. The dialogue contains some geographical aspects too. Teaching Euthyphro subjects students to matters of faith and religion which perhaps, they may have never encountered before. Finally, Socrates aims at nothing other than producing a type of void in Euthyphro. It is possible that this type of void would lead to effects such as the possibility of freedom.


Plato. (380 B.C.E).  Euthyphro. Written 380 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett Retrieved Oct 4, 2018 from edu/Plato/euthyfro.html”>

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top