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Subjects

Plato. Cratylus, Names -- History, Language and languages -- Philosophy -- History, Naturalness (Linguistics)

Abstract

In Plato’s Cratylus, Socrates, Hermogenes, and Cratylus attempt to discover if things are named with consideration to phusis or nomos. This paper traces these arguments throughout Plato’s dialogue. In the end, Plato is suggesting that Socrates is like a legislator with the power to bestow appropriate names to things, even as he hides Socrates behind a thin veil of uncertainty. Ultimately the reader must make up his or her own mind, why is Socrates so full of contradictions and why does Plato portray him this way.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/13144

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