1 For more on this 'standard' version of P, see P.T. Geach, "Plato's Euthyphro: Analysis and Commentary," The Monist 50 (1966): pp. 369- 82. See also T. Brickhouse and N. Smith, "The Paradox of Socratic Ignorance in Plato's Apology," History of Philosophy. Quarterly 2 (1984): pp.125-131; and Woodruff s citations, n. 22. 2 As Tom Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith argued in early 1986 in "Socrates' Elenctic Mission," (unpublished) the elenchus is employed for exhortative and interpretive purposes, among several others. For more on this, see their forthcoming book on the Apology (Princeton and Clarendon Presses). I do not see that their "Vlastos on the Elenchus," Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 2 (1984): pp. 185-195, 'narrowly assumes only one strictly Socratic use of the elenchus' (p. 83). For an additional account of Socrates' use of the interpretive elenchus in respect of the oracle (one somewhat at variance with Woodruff's account), see my "Socrates and the Duty to Philosophize," Southern Journal o f Philosophy 4 (1986): pp. 541-560. Among other issues, my thesis disputes Woodruff's claim that Socrates thinks that the interpretive elenchus has "...only modest results...in view of the principle of the priority of definition," (p. 84). Rather, it seems to me that Socrates takes the oracular pronouncement as interpreted by his elenctic procedure to be the moral guarantee of his mission and one of the warrants for the soundness of the elenchus itself (additionally, Woodruff's own later modification of P undermines his claim here). See also T. Brickhouse and N. Smith, "The Origin of Socrates' Mission,"
journal of the History of Ideas 4 (1983): pp. 657-666.
3 So again, it seems to me that Woodruff is incorrect to suppose that the principle of the priority of definition that governs possible knowledge of a concept will stymie any proof that doesn't begin with adequate definitions, if by 'stymie' Woodruff means 'soundness-preventing'. I am likewise unsure of Woodruff's claim that the elenchus does not prove that a proposal about virtue is false (p. 86). It would seem that at Gorgias 508d- 509b, for instance, Socrates believes that he has proved that it is false that doing wrong is better than suffering it.
4 See my "Socratic Piety in the Euthyphro," Journal of the History of Philosophy 3 (1985): pp. 283-309; and R. Kraut, Socrates and the State (Princeton, 1984): pp. 288-294.
5 Although understanding that epyov may in turn require understanding what the whole of the Good consists in, that in itself does not rule out piety's being a Texvri. See also "Socratic Piety in the Euthyphro," pp. 297- 300.
6 For example, I don't understand how it is that the elenchus "seems to presuppose that you cannot give a useful example of Courage unless you have expert knowledge..." (p. 98). The principle of the priority of definition may entail this result, but that needn't make the principle or its result a necessary part of successful elenctic procedure.
7 This formulation is also at odds with Woodruff's claim (pp. 79-80) that "Socrates' inquiry depends on knowledge about the nature of courage." 8 See the forthcoming papers by Beversluis and Lesher cited in Woodruff (n. 22). 9 See p. 96 where he restricts what it is usually taken to govern.
10 Woodruff gives us no examples of sort (a). That is unfortunate, because without further clarification, Woodruff's presentation of sort (a) action-types harbors an ambiguity: there are behaviorally-based action-type descriptions (e.g., "remaining in hoplite order is brave") and non-behaviorally-based action-type descriptions (e.g., "returning harm is wrong"). I discuss the consequences of this ambiguity below.
11 Note that Woodruff himself simply gives up (p. 100) the claim that to know that action-tokens are courageous one would have to appeal to the feature of the action that makes it courageous (p. 98). 12 As I mentioned above, however, if by 'see' we mean 'recognize simply by means of behavioral criteria', then there will be no such recognizable actions-types of sort (a). Justification of this claim follows. 13 For this solution to the problem of the principle of the priority of definition, see, e.g., Brickhouse and Smith (1984). I also do not see why, according to Woodruff, the principle of the priority of definition must be such that non-experts like Socrates cannot know counter-examples; see, e.g., Socrates' endorsement of one at Gorgias 521d and another at Charm. 159c. I also find no reason for accepting the claim (p. 102) that Socrates would not acknowledge the counter- example at Laches 192e.
14 1 take his references to "circumstances" and "seeing" (pp. 96-102) as evidence that he conceives of action-type descriptions of sort (a) (and b) as commonly (but not necessarily) involving behavioral descriptions; e.g., "standing firm in battle". There was no doubt of this, in any case, in Woodruff's original paper. Such action-types, he claims, are what a moral expert would have to know; i.e., a moral expert would have to be able to produce a behavioral-description that would always and in every situation be virtuous. 15plato's Moral Theory (Oxford, 1977), pp. 46-47.
16 Ibid., p. 45.
17 Plato is in fact fairly explicit about this at Symp. 180e-181a. 18 "Socratic Piety in the Euthyphro." pp. 304-309.
19 See G. Vlastos, "The Unity of the Virtues in the Protagoras," in Platonic Studies: (Princeton, 1981) pp. 221-269, esp. 268-9, and Thucydides (7, 50, 4). Whether Plato expects his readers to be familiar with Nicias' weakness for divination and the like by exposure to popular memory or through a previous reading of Thucydides seems impossible to say. 20 I am grateful to Paul Woodruff, John Cleary, and a referee of the Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy for their help in preparing these comments. I am especially grateful to Paul for providing me with a lively and thought-provoking exchange of ideas. As always, I am indebted to Nick Smith for our frequent discussions of Socratic philosophy. I would like to note that these comments were revised in light of Paul's revisions to his original paper (both revisions made subsequent to our BACAP session). All page and note references are to the current version of his paper unless otherwise noted.