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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Persons of the dialogue: Socrates - Hermogenes - Cratylus
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 32 Pages (Part 2) - Greek fonts
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CRATYLUS part 2 of 2

Part 1


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This Part: 32 Pages

Plato notes @ ElpenorCratylus: Beings and names

Soc. That is a very singular word about which I can hardly form an opinion, and therefore I must have recourse to my ingenious device.

Her. What device?

Soc. The device of a foreign origin, which I shall give to this word also.

Her. Very likely you are right; but suppose that we leave these words and endeavour to see the rationale of kalon and aischron.

Soc. The meaning of aischron is evident, being only aei ischon roes (always preventing from flowing), and this is in accordance with our former derivations. For the name - giver was a great enemy to stagnation of all sorts, and hence he gave the name aeischoroun to that which hindered the flux (aei ischon roun), and that is now beaten together into aischron.

Her. But what do you say of kalon?

Soc. That is more obscure; yet the form is only due to the quantity, and has been changed by altering ou into o.

Her. What do you mean?

Soc. This name appears to denote mind.

Her. How so?

Soc. Let me ask you what is the cause why anything has a name; is not the principle which imposes the name the cause?

Her. Certainly.

Soc. And must not this be the mind of Gods, or of men, or of both?

Her. Yes.

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