Cratylus

Cratylus

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Cratylus by Plato

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Cratylus

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Translated by B. Jowett

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subject, would have been fatal to the spirit of enquiry or discovery, which is the soul of the dialogue...These remarks are applicable to nearly all the works of Plato, but to the Cratylus and Phaedrus more than any others. See Phaedrus, Introduction.

There is another aspect under which some of the dialogues of Plato may be more truly viewed:--they are dramatic sketches of an argument. We have found that in the Lysis, Charmides, Laches, Protagoras, Meno, we arrived at no conclusion--the different sides of the argument were personified in the different speakers; but the victory was not distinctly attributed to any of them, nor the truth wholly the property of any. And in the Cratylus we have no reason to assume that Socrates is either wholly right or wholly wrong, or that Plato, though he evidently inclines to him, had any other aim than that of personifying, in the characters of Hermogenes, Socrates, and Cratylus, the three theories of language which are respectively maintained by them.

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