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Cratylus

Cratylus

Plato
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Cratylus is Plato's only foray into linguistic philosophy, examining the relationship between language and truth. Hermogenes and Cratylus take opposing views of the nature of language. Hermogenes claims that all names are conventional, having no intrinsic relationship to the objects that they name, whilst Cratylus holds that names do have a relationship with the objects of the world, and that study of a name leads to knowledge of the thing it names. Having heard both arguments, Socrates at first seems to side with Cratylus as he critiques Hermogenes position. However, he also ultimately critiques the extremity of Cratylus' position, forcing him to admit some element of convention in the naming of things. Plato thus appears to strive for some middle ground between these Cratylus' and Hermogenes' extremes, but his position remains open to interpretation. A fascinating and unusual entry in the Platonic canon, Cratylus is of interest to scholars of philosophy and linguistics alike.
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