Every Shimer student in the Weekday program reads Plato’s Euthyphro as their first assignment in preparation for Orientation. This is appropriate, because Platonic dialogues such as the Euthyphro are typical of the sorts of texts that work particularly well in the Shimer classroom. The meanings of such texts are rarely immediately obvious, or at least not completely so; because of this, they reward close reading, critical investigation, and deep reflection. By contrast, a technical manual, such as the ones included with cars and DVD players, aims to plainly communicate a single meaning that can be contradicted only by statements that are patently incorrect. That’s one reason why we don’t study technical manuals at Shimer, or their first cousins, textbooks. With that in mind, I’m going to explore some aspects of the Euthyphro in an effort to uncover at least part of the meaning of the dialogue.
Via Keith Wayne Brown