= Note by Elpenor
This Part: 39 Pages
Hermogenes. Suppose that we make Socrates a party to the argument?
Cratylus. If you please.
Her. I should explain to you, Socrates, that our friend Cratylus has been arguing about names; he says that they are natural and not conventional; not a portion of the human voice which men agree to use; but that there is a truth or correctness in them, which is the same for Hellenes as for barbarians. Whereupon I ask him, whether his own name of Cratylus is a true name or not, and he answers "Yes." And Socrates? "Yes." Then every man's name, as I tell him, is that which he is called. To this he replies - "If all the world were to call you Hermogenes, that would not be your name." And when I am anxious to have a further explanation he is ironical and mysterious, and seems to imply that he has a notion of his own about the matter, if he would only tell, and could entirely convince me, if he chose to be intelligible. Tell me, Socrates, what this oracle means; or rather tell me, if you will be so good, what is your own view of the truth or correctness of names, which I would far sooner hear.
Socrates. Son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient saying, that "hard is the knowledge of the good." And the knowledge of names is a great part of knowledge. If I had not been poor, I might have heard the fifty - drachma course of the great Prodicus, which is a complete education in grammar and language - these are his own words - and then I should have been at once able to answer your question about the correctness of names. But, indeed, I have only heard the single - drachma course, and therefore, I do not know the truth about such matters; I will, however, gladly assist you and Cratylus in the investigation of them. When he declares that your name is not really Hermogenes, I suspect that he is only making fun of you; - he means to say that you are no true son of Hermes, because you are always looking after a fortune and never in luck. But, as I was saying, there is a good deal of difficulty in this sort of knowledge, and therefore we had better leave the question open until we have heard both sides.
Cratylus part 2 of 2. You are at part 1
Plato Home Page / Bilingual Anthology Plato Search ||| Aristotle
Reference address : http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plato/plato-cratylus.asp
Copyright : Elpenor 2006 -