“Polytheism and the Euthyphro”, Walking the Worlds 2.2 (Summer 2016), 20-34.
July 8, 2016
The new issue of Walking the Worlds has the theme “Philosophy and Polytheism”, and I was pleased to contribute an article on Plato’s Euthyphro. Here’s the abstract:
In this reading of the Euthyphro, Socrates and Euthyphro are seen less in a primordial conflict between reason and devotion, than as sincere Hellenic polytheists engaged in an inquiry based upon a common intuition that, in addition to the irreducible agency of the Gods, there is also some irreducible intelligible content to holiness. This reading is supported by the fact that Euthyphro does not claim the authority of revelation for his decision to prosecute his father, but rather submits it to elenchus, and that Euthyphro does not embrace the ‘solution’ of theological voluntarism when Socrates explicitly offers it. Since the goal of this inquiry is neither to eliminate the noetic content of the holy, nor to eliminate the Gods’ agency, the purpose of the elenchus becomes the effort to articulate the results of this productive tension between the Gods and the intelligible on the several planes of Being implied by each conception of the holy which is successively taken up and dialectically overturned to yield the conception appropriate to the next higher plane, a style of interpretation characteristic of the ancient Neoplatonists.
I also wrote the introduction for this issue. My thanks to all of the contributors, and as always to the extraordinary Sara Kate Istra Winter, of A Forest Door, for her exquisite design work on the journal.