Definition in Greek Philosophy

David Charles offers 14 new essays by way of major specialists regarding definition in Greek philosophers from Socrates to Plotinus.

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9 The nature and scope of this claim is of course controversial, but for present purposes we need only note that it introduces some form of epistemological dependence, of knowledge that X is pious on knowledge that X satisfies the definition of piety: the definition must be such as to make this dependence possible. As we shall see, the refutation of Euthyphro’s definition reveals an ontological or metaphysical dependence too: being pious depends on satisfying the definition. This idea will come into more focus when we discuss the argument.

265. 20 For discussion of this question, see M. Frede’s ‘Stoics and Sceptics on Clear and Distinct Impressions’, in Essays in Ancient Philosophy, Minnesota, 1987, pp. 151–76. INTRODUCTION 21 used in scientific or ethical enquiry? If so, was the sole purpose of their definitions to give the resources properly to investigate these differing areas? On this account, once the enquirer has an adequate set of concepts, his scientific or ethical enquiry will, if successful, lead him to discover how things are in the world.

This idea will come into more focus when we discuss the argument. Dependence of this sort seems to rule against identity as the relation between definiens and being pious;10 although we might find it natural to think in terms of constitution at this point, other relations may not be excluded, as I said above, and there is no discussion of the nature of this relation in the Euthyphro itself. 7 Richard Sharvey makes the suggestion that the relationship might be something like an Aristotelian formal cause (‘Euthyphro 9d–11b: Analysis and Definition in Plato and Others’, Nouˆs 6 (1972), 119–37, at pp.

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