Euthyphro's final attempt at a definition or account may come as a relief to those in the audience who have been thinking the whole time. Since this is basically a legal case, what to do about dad, the maybe murderer. We ought to ask, what is justice, or what does the law say? All that is holy is necessarily just. But is all that is just, holy? With a little help from Socrates, we get holiness is maybe only part of the domain of justice, but which part? This might actually make sense. Let's suppose you are a religious person who thinks your religion informs your sense of justice. Thou shall not kill, just for example. But very few people think religion gives you all the answers. Should the law tell you to drive on the left side of the street or the right? If you drive on the wrong side, you are going to get in trouble with the justice system, and rightly so. But few people look to religion to design a traffic system. Another question, which is more just? A sales tax or a VAT tax, that is a value added tax. Possibly you think your religion informs your sense of how the tax system should be set up. But even so, there are probably relatively subtle technical questions about optimal public policy that religion doesn't presumably answer. Don't bother Zeus with questions about VAT taxes or whether you should drive on the left or the right. He just hates murderers. So maybe this is a good sign. Euthyphro admits there are questions of justice outside the sphere of holiness. But then it all goes pear shaped again. Euthyphro says there's two parts of justice. Proper car of the gods, proper care of, of men. What's crazy about that? Remember Euthyphro's first account? What is holy? Prosecuting murderers and temple robbers, things like that. Socrates says a few examples isn't good enough, and we quickly move on to some bad answers that at least have the form of a definition. But look again at those examples. Let's make a quiz out of it. Which of these crimes do you think are most similar to murder? A, Assault and battery. B, Rape. C, Torture. D, Robbing a church. I'm willing to except any answer. All answers. Except D. Perhaps they are all equally like murder, except D. But Euthyphro's first thought is D. Isn't that wired? Not really. Remember why murder is bad? Because Zeus hates a mess. You know what else Zeus doesn't like? People who rob his temples. Imagine Euthyphro comes upon the dead guy in the ditch. What does he say? Zeus needs my help. And the dead guy's spirit looks up in Hades and says, that's right. And I ain't feeling too good either. You get it? The victim isn't Zeus, that's absurd. It's the guy in the ditch, obviously. That is, surely murder is wrong for human reasons. Surely the ban on murder falls under the heading, care of men, not care of gods. Or anyway, surely what Zeus cares about is care of men, if he cares about murder. So if we really want to care about what Zeus cares about, and thereby take care of Zeus, we shouldn't care so much about Zeus. We should care about our fellow men. I'm talking too fast again, aren't I? Okay, I'll slow down. In the book, I quote a passage from Republic. But not from our reading, book one. Here's Socrates from later in Republic. What is said about the gods and virtue is the most incredible thing of all. Namely that the gods themselves inflict misfortune and misery upon many a good man, while the opposite fate awaits the opposite sort. Begging priests and prophets darken the doors of the rich and persuade them they possess a god given power to stage a pleasant festival of sacrifice and prayer, thereby expiating any crime the rich man or one of this ancestors may have committed. Not only that, but if one wants to make trouble for some enemy, then for a very reasonable price, this lot will contrive to harm the just and unjust alike. Because they have incantations and spells for persuading the gods to serve them. What's Socrates talking about? Well. An example of a pleasant festival might be the pan Athenaic festival I've already talked about, big tourist draw. You get to see fancy embroidery of Gods fighting giants. It's fun, and it's good for the soul. Let me put on my best late night infomercial voice. I guess if this is religion, we ought to call it a theomercial. Friends! What if I told you, you don’t have to keep losing sleep over wrongs you've committed. You’d be skeptical, wouldn't you? Well, keep an open mind because I’m here to tell you about an amazing new wonder product, Miasmaway. Want to be troublesome or painful, you ask? Not at all. While you relax on a pleasant festival couch, one of our trained certified, sacrificial technicians will simply persuade your guilt away. But wait, there's more. Do you have an enemy, or former business associate, you would like to see suffer? What if I told you, we can arrange for a genuine god to harm him and for a lot less money than you might expect to pay. Act now, and we'll throw in a free bonus expiation of an ancestor's guilt at no additional charge. Socrates clearly thinks anything that's remotely like this, is extremely sordid. The idea that you can bribe a god, and then not even pay him much money, is insulting. We'll hear a bit more about this, when we get to book One Republic. There's a festival going on, and the old guy Capellis is really splashing out the cash. But for now you might think, hold on Socrates. I can see why this crass commercialism, with regards to religion, offends you. But what does this have to do with Euthyphro? He may be an idiot or a jerk. Maybe he's got issues with his dad. Do you imagine that sort of the thing in the background of the dialogue? Maybe Euthyphro is very proud, and therefore annoyed that dad's sent off to Athens for religious advice, when his own son was right there? Maybe this whole case is just washing some petty, family dirty laundry in public. A father son fight. Well anyway, whatever it is, Euthyphro doesn't look like he's in it for the money. Yet Socrates embarrasses Euthyphro by making him spell out what care of the gods involves in such a way that it comes out sounding terribly commercial. Just buying and selling of favors, a kind of mercantile exchange. Euthyphro doesn't like it to sound that way. But he can't figure out how else to describe it. He keeps being driven back into a kind of commercial model. Is Socrates fair to make Euthyphro squirm on this hook? The point is a bit delicate. In this lesson I'm not going to get to what I think Socrates really thinks about Euthyphro, or what Plato really thinks or what Plato really thinks about what Socrates really thinks. But I owe you a down payment and it goes like this, it's not that Euthyphro is necessarily like those sleazy, begging priests, it's that it's not clear what makes him necessarily unlike them. They are definitely bad, let's grant that. How can we be sure Euthyphro is definitely not bad? In the book I use another example from Chinese philosophy to explain this part. A story about the Duke of Zhou. Confucius always holds him up as morally exemplary. You can read this bit starting on page 123. I'm going to summarize briefly. In the story, the Duke saves his king's life by going out at night with his discs of jade, and first establishing a line of communication with the spirit word, the dead, and then striking a bargain with them to save the king. Ah-ha he's a necromancer, this duke. You see what I told you about World of Warcraft lying to you about necromancy? It's a very proper sort of respectable business. Confucius loves it. It's just staying in touch with your heritage, your ancestors. Confucius was a big believer in necromancy. If you even take a class on ancient Chinese philosophy and someone asks you why you're interested, don't say any of the usual stuff about being interested in culture or ritual. Say, I want to learn necromancy. But don't tell them I sent you. Right. In the text, I say I don't think premoral is the right word for it. The duke is very brave and noble. Going out at night and risking his own life, talking to ghosts. He offers to sacrifice himself to save his king. That's filiopiety for you. That's morality in action. But the story itself doesn't really help us understand where the line is between right and wrong. The story isn't theoretically moral, even if it's moral. Talking about how to talk to the ancestors with discs of jade doesn't amount to theorizing right and wrong. Euthyphro, we might say, is like the Duke, even more so, he's willing to sacrifice not just himself, but his own dad. Why isn't that extra noble? Well, maybe because it's just wrong, how would we know? Telling stories about Zeus doesn't explain why Euthyphro is an idiot, but the Duke is noble. Nor does talking about discs of jade. One last comparison and we're done. I said Euthyphro is a mantis. If I wanted a more contemporary term, I could've said, he's a sysadmin, a systems administrator. They look like this. I was delighted to find out that Wikipedia has a stock picture of a sysadmin. Yes, they all look exactly like that. But it's appropriate that a priestly cast should have a uniform that sets them apart from the man on the street. The sysadmin keeps communication lines open, he keeps away pollution; viruses, malware, such things. It's all a matter of care and service; they call those machines servers for a reason. He makes sure various entities, human and otherwise, can exchange things. So everyone is better off. This is what Euthyphro does too. But no one thinks sysadmins should rule the world. Even though there's a funny science fiction story with that title, if you care to look it up. When Sysadmins ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow. Why don't sysadmins rule the earth? Dear Sysadmin, should I break up with my boyfriend? Dear Sysadmin, should I quit my job? Why would they know? Next lesson, Veno. But I'll start with a bit of Euthyphro. What is Plato's or Socratises' positive view? As the upshot of this negative view of this guy. Beating up Euthyphro is all fun and games, but we'd like a more positive take away eventually.