Euthyphro, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates, between Socrates and Euthyphro. The dialogue covers subjects such as the meaning of piety and justice. As is common with Plato’s earliest dialogues, it ends in aporia.Wikipedia


I read Euthyphro in one sitting tonight.  Full disclosure, it’s the first of Plato’s writings I’ve ever read and even fuller disclosure, it’s the first time I read a philosophical work (I think).  So forgive me if I lack the background as to why Socrates approaches Euthyphro in such an argumentative manner.  At least that’s my take on it especially as the story goes on.  It’s probably not even called a story. I think it’s termed a ‘dialogue’. So if you can get past my ignorance, here’s my take.  Feel free to enlighten me more in the comments.

The story is a great display of the Socratic method.  For me however, it calls into question the strenght of an argument when the Socratic method is implemented.  If the argument was without repute then why must Elenchus step 2 be implemented? That’s where Socrates decides whether the thesis is false and targets for refutation.  Flattery and sarcasm are a means of endearment on a socio-behavioral level.  Their purpose is to encourage the individual who made a concrete statement to solidify that remark with additional foundational statements.  Flattery and sarcasm are a tricky ploy on one’s part and begin to introduce bias.

What you are saying you want to better understand the statement and who better to explain it than an expert.  Yet, are your true intentions to prove or disprove the original statement?  How can you decide, in Elenchus step 2, that the argument is without repute prior to hearing its justification?  If it’s an equal investigation where the truth is sought than I think the Socratic method is a fine tool to use.  The method, however, is never used to validate the original statement.

When you use the Socratic method as a means to refute someone versus using it to get to ground truth you are introducing bias from the start.  I’m surprised someone hasn’t yet introduced the Citarcos method to rebut the Socratic method and its intrinsic biases.

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