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A Chiastic Contradiction at Euthyphro 9e1-11b5

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image of Phronesis

One of Euthyphro's proposed de finitions of to hosion says: '[T]he pious is what all the gods love . . .'. Scholarly analyses of Socrates' refutation of this de finition have focused on its validity or even its 'truth'. By contrast, this paper restricts itself to the refutation's logical structure, particularly the way Socrates juxtaposes the agreed-upon premises to derive a double or 'chiastic' contradiction. In this article, I lay out the details of Socrates' ingenious logical construction, without regard to its validity or fallaciousness, and argue that the chiastic contradiction alone makes possible Socrates' refutation of Euthyphro's claim to expertise in the realm of to hosion.


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