Plato's Cratylus is a brilliant but enigmatic dialogue. It bears on a topic, the relation of language to knowledge, which has never ceased to be of central philosophical importance, but tackles it in ways which at times look alien to us. In this reappraisal of the dialogue, Professor Sedley argues that the etymologies which take up well over half of it are not an embarrassing lapse or semi-private joke on Plato's part. On the contrary, if taken seriously as they should be, they are the key to understanding both the dialogue itself and Plato's linguistic philosophy more broadly. The book's main argument is so formulated as to be intelligible to readers with no knowledge of Greek, and will have a significant impact both on the study of Plato and on the history of linguistic thought.
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aether already analysis Anaxagoras ancient appropriate argued argument Aristotle Aristotle’s assigned assumed assumption Barney Beautiful Chapter Charmides components correctness of names cosmic Crat Cratylus Critias Cronos daimons decoding dialectical dialectician dialogue dialogue’s divine doctrine earlier embody ethical etymologies eudaimonia Euthydemus Euthyphro example expertise explicitly fact falsity flux Forms function Greek Heraclitean Heraclitus herm Hermogenes Hestia human imitation imitative powers intellectual interpretation kind knowledge language least letters linguistic means metaphysical motion name-makers name’s namegivers nature nominata nomos nomothet»es objects ofits ofthe onoma original Ouranos ousia passage Phaedo Philebus philosophical Plato portrait predicate primary names primary sounds principle Prodicus Protagoras question reason recognised resemblance seems sense sensible world separate skl»erot»es socr Socrates Socrates and Hermogenes Sophist speaking stylometry techn»e Theaetetus theme theory thesis thing’s name things thought Timaeus true truth turn understanding variant vocabulary words