Philosophy and Literature 38 (2):495-509 (2014)

Gene Fendt
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Euthyphro is frequently dissected for its philosophical dilemmas regarding god’s love’s relation to holiness, and whether justice is a part of the holy or the converse. But how can we understand it as a literary whole? This paper exhibits five ways in which it can be so understood: Euthyphro is the subjectivist patsy (both a literalist and divine command theorist) playing against Socrates’ natural law-like moral objectivity; the dialogue is elenchic because the dilemmas are true; the dialogue is elenchic, but the dilemmas are false; the dialogue produces a double irony; the irony is in the existence of the dialogue.
Keywords literary readings of Plato  dialogue as art  use of elenchos  dilemmas
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DOI 10.1353/phl.2014.0061
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