Cratylus by Plato
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Plato Cratylus

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[Cratylus] [1] PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Hermogenes, Cratylus.
[Cratylus] [10] conventional; not a portion of the human voice which men agree to use; but
[Cratylus] [12] Hellenes as for barbarians. Whereupon I ask him, whether his own name of
[Cratylus] [18] notion of his own about the matter, if he would only tell, and could
[Cratylus] [21] your own view of the truth or correctness of names, which I would far
[Cratylus] [24] SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient saying, that 'hard is the
[Cratylus] [25] knowledge of the good.' And the knowledge of names is a great part of
[Cratylus] [27] course of the great Prodicus, which is a complete education in grammar and
[Cratylus] [29] to answer your question about the correctness of names. But, indeed, I
[Cratylus] [32] in the investigation of them. When he declares that your name is not
[Cratylus] [33] really Hermogenes, I suspect that he is only making fun of you;--he means
[Cratylus] [34] to say that you are no true son of Hermes, because you are always looking
[Cratylus] [36] deal of difficulty in this sort of knowledge, and therefore we had better
[Cratylus] [40] others, and cannot convince myself that there is any principle of
[Cratylus] [44] names of our slaves, and the newly-imposed name is as good as the old: for
[Cratylus] [46] of the users;--such is my view. But if I am mistaken I shall be happy to
[Cratylus] [47] hear and learn of Cratylus, or of any one else.
[Cratylus] [50] meaning is, that the name of each thing is only that which anybody agrees
[Cratylus] [55] SOCRATES: Whether the giver of the name be an individual or a city?
[Cratylus] [61] horse by me individually, and rightly called a man by the rest of the
[Cratylus] [99] SOCRATES: Then the name is a part of the true proposition?
[Cratylus] [107] SOCRATES: And is not the part of a falsehood also a falsehood?
[Cratylus] [116] SOCRATES: And the name of anything is that which any one affirms to be the
[Cratylus] [121] SOCRATES: And will there be so many names of each thing as everybody says
[Cratylus] [122] that there are? and will they be true names at the time of uttering them?
[Cratylus] [124] HERMOGENES: Yes, Socrates, I can conceive no correctness of names other
[Cratylus] [127] from barbarians in their use of names, and the several Hellenic tribes from
[Cratylus] [132] For he says that man is the measure of all things, and that things are to
[Cratylus] [135] essence of their own?
[Cratylus] [145] are very bad men, and a good many of them.
[Cratylus] [161] they appear to any one, how can some of us be wise and some of us foolish?
[Cratylus] [166] distinguishable, you will allow, I think, that the assertion of Protagoras
[Cratylus] [190] class of being?
[Cratylus] [195] and not according to our opinion of them? In cutting, for example, we do
[Cratylus] [197] proper instrument only, and according to the natural process of cutting;
[Cratylus] [199] and be of no use at all.
[Cratylus] [208] SOCRATES: And this holds good of all actions?
[Cratylus] [212] SOCRATES: And speech is a kind of action?
[Cratylus] [217] not the successful speaker rather be he who speaks in the natural way of
[Cratylus] [219] instrument? Any other mode of speaking will result in error and failure.
[Cratylus] [223] SOCRATES: And is not naming a part of speaking? for in giving names men
[Cratylus] [228] SOCRATES: And if speaking is a sort of action and has a relation to acts,
[Cratylus] [229] is not naming also a sort of action?
[Cratylus] [234] a special nature of their own?
[Cratylus] [274] SOCRATES: Suppose that I ask, 'What sort of instrument is a shuttle?' And
[Cratylus] [284] SOCRATES: And may not a similar description be given of an awl, and of
[Cratylus] [300] SOCRATES: Then a name is an instrument of teaching and of distinguishing
[Cratylus] [301] natures, as the shuttle is of distinguishing the threads of the web.
[Cratylus] [305] SOCRATES: And the shuttle is the instrument of the weaver?
[Cratylus] [318] HERMOGENES: That of the carpenter.
[Cratylus] [327] HERMOGENES: That of the smith.
[Cratylus] [345] SOCRATES: Then the teacher, when he gives us a name, uses the work of the
[Cratylus] [355] a maker of names; and this is the legislator, who of all skilled artisans
[Cratylus] [361] look? Consider this in the light of the previous instances: to what does
[Cratylus] [377] SOCRATES: And whatever shuttles are wanted, for the manufacture of
[Cratylus] [378] garments, thin or thick, of flaxen, woollen, or other material, ought all
[Cratylus] [379] of them to have the true form of the shuttle; and whatever is the shuttle
[Cratylus] [380] best adapted to each kind of work, that ought to be the form which the
[Cratylus] [385] SOCRATES: And the same holds of other instruments: when a man has
[Cratylus] [389] know how to put into iron the forms of awls adapted by nature to their
[Cratylus] [394] SOCRATES: And how to put into wood forms of shuttles adapted by nature to
[Cratylus] [399] SOCRATES: For the several forms of shuttles naturally answer to the
[Cratylus] [400] several kinds of webs; and this is true of instruments in general.
[Cratylus] [405] put the true natural name of each thing into sounds and syllables, and to
[Cratylus] [409] may be making the same instrument for the same purpose, make them all of
[Cratylus] [411] still the instrument may be equally good of whatever iron made, whether in
[Cratylus] [418] true and proper form of the name in whatever syllables; this or that
[Cratylus] [424] the shuttle, whatever sort of wood may be used? the carpenter who makes, or
[Cratylus] [429] SOCRATES: And who uses the work of the lyre-maker? Will not he be the man
[Cratylus] [437] HERMOGENES: The player of the lyre.
[Cratylus] [462] SOCRATES: Then the work of the carpenter is to make a rudder, and the
[Cratylus] [467] SOCRATES: And the work of the legislator is to give names, and the
[Cratylus] [472] SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, I should say that this giving of names can be
[Cratylus] [473] no such light matter as you fancy, or the work of light or chance persons;
[Cratylus] [475] not every man is an artificer of names, but he only who looks to the name
[Cratylus] [476] which each thing by nature has, and is able to express the true forms of
[Cratylus] [482] natural fitness of names.
[Cratylus] [492] SOCRATES: And what is the nature of this truth or correctness of names?
[Cratylus] [501] SOCRATES: The true way is to have the assistance of those who know, and
[Cratylus] [503] of whom your brother, Callias, has--rather dearly--bought the reputation of
[Cratylus] [506] learnt from Protagoras about the fitness of names.
[Cratylus] [509] Protagoras and his truth ('Truth' was the title of the book of Protagoras;
[Cratylus] [513] SOCRATES: Then if you despise him, you must learn of Homer and the poets.
[Cratylus] [518] SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly in the places where
[Cratylus] [521] the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be supposed to call
[Cratylus] [524] HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if they call them at
[Cratylus] [542] (Compare Il. 'The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb of
[Cratylus] [543] the sportive Myrina.') And there are many other observations of the same
[Cratylus] [545] understanding of you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and Astyanax,
[Cratylus] [546] which he affirms to have been the names of Hector's son, are more within
[Cratylus] [547] the range of human faculties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet
[Cratylus] [553] SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think the more correct of
[Cratylus] [561] HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course.
[Cratylus] [563] SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the
[Cratylus] [569] Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other
[Cratylus] [570] name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women.
[Cratylus] [584] SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us consider:--does he not
[Cratylus] [589] This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of the saviour king of
[Cratylus] [601] HERMOGENES: What of that?
[Cratylus] [603] SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly the same as the name of
[Cratylus] [605] nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a man is
[Cratylus] [606] clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he rules, and owns, and
[Cratylus] [609] that I had found some indication of the opinion of Homer about the
[Cratylus] [610] correctness of names.
[Cratylus] [616] and the foal of a horse a horse; I am speaking only of the ordinary course
[Cratylus] [617] of nature, when an animal produces after his kind, and not of extraordinary
[Cratylus] [620] natural birth. And the same may be said of trees and other things. Do you
[Cratylus] [626] play tricks with you. For on the same principle the son of a king is to be
[Cratylus] [627] called a king. And whether the syllables of the name are the same or not
[Cratylus] [629] the addition or subtraction of a letter make any difference so long as the
[Cratylus] [630] essence of the thing remains in possession of the name and appears in it.
[Cratylus] [635] of letters, which you know are not the same as the letters themselves with
[Cratylus] [636] the exception of the four epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega; the names of
[Cratylus] [637] the rest, whether vowels or consonants, are made up of other letters which
[Cratylus] [639] no mistake, the name of the letter is quite correct. Take, for example,
[Cratylus] [640] the letter beta--the addition of eta, tau, alpha, gives no offence, and
[Cratylus] [646] SOCRATES: And may not the same be said of a king? a king will often be the
[Cratylus] [647] son of a king, the good son or the noble son of a good or noble sire; and
[Cratylus] [648] similarly the offspring of every kind, in the regular course of nature, is
[Cratylus] [651] not recognize them, although they are the same, just as any one of us would
[Cratylus] [652] not recognize the same drugs under different disguises of colour and smell,
[Cratylus] [653] although to the physician, who regards the power of them, they are the
[Cratylus] [656] of a letter or two, or indeed by the change of all the letters, for this
[Cratylus] [657] need not interfere with the meaning. As was just now said, the names of
[Cratylus] [659] have the same meaning. And how little in common with the letters of their
[Cratylus] [660] names has Archepolis (ruler of the city)--and yet the meaning is the same.
[Cratylus] [664] physician, as Iatrocles (famous healer) and Acesimbrotus (curer of
[Cratylus] [672] in the course of nature?
[Cratylus] [676] SOCRATES: And what of those who follow out of the course of nature, and
[Cratylus] [678] irreligious son, he ought to bear the name not of his father, but of the
[Cratylus] [679] class to which he belongs, just as in the case which was before supposed of
[Cratylus] [684] SOCRATES: Then the irreligious son of a religious father should be called
[Cratylus] [689] SOCRATES: He should not be called Theophilus (beloved of God) or
[Cratylus] [690] Mnesitheus (mindful of God), or any of these names: if names are correctly
[Cratylus] [695] SOCRATES: Again, Hermogenes, there is Orestes (the man of the mountains)
[Cratylus] [698] wildness of his hero's nature.
[Cratylus] [708] accomplishment of his resolves, and by his virtue crowns them; and his
[Cratylus] [709] continuance at Troy with all the vast army is a proof of that admirable
[Cratylus] [711] that Atreus is rightly called; for his murder of Chrysippus and his
[Cratylus] [715] seeing the meaning, for whether you think of him as ateires the stubborn,
[Cratylus] [717] perfectly correct in every point of view. And I think that Pelops is also
[Cratylus] [724] foresight of all the evil which the murder of Myrtilus would entail upon
[Cratylus] [727] all means for his bride. Every one would agree that the name of Tantalus
[Cratylus] [734] his life--last of all, came the utter ruin of his country; and after his
[Cratylus] [739] this form, by some accident of tradition, it has actually been transmuted.
[Cratylus] [740] The name of Zeus, who is his alleged father, has also an excellent meaning,
[Cratylus] [744] nature of the God, and the business of a name, as we were saying, is to
[Cratylus] [745] express the nature. For there is none who is more the author of life to us
[Cratylus] [746] and to all, than the lord and king of all. Wherefore we are right in
[Cratylus] [750] son of Cronos (who is a proverb for stupidity), and we might rather expect
[Cratylus] [751] Zeus to be the child of a mighty intellect. Which is the fact; for this is
[Cratylus] [752] the meaning of his father's name: Kronos quasi Koros (Choreo, to sweep),
[Cratylus] [753] not in the sense of a youth, but signifying to chatharon chai acheraton tou
[Cratylus] [755] informed by tradition, was begotten of Uranus, rightly so called (apo tou
[Cratylus] [758] could remember the genealogy of Hesiod, I would have gone on and tried more
[Cratylus] [759] conclusions of the same sort on the remoter ancestors of the Gods,--then I
[Cratylus] [767] from the great Euthyphro of the Prospaltian deme, who gave me a long
[Cratylus] [770] of my soul,and to-day I shall let his superhuman power work and finish the
[Cratylus] [771] investigation of names--that will be the way; but to-morrow, if you are so
[Cratylus] [772] disposed, we will conjure him away, and make a purgation of him, if we can
[Cratylus] [773] only find some priest or sophist who is skilled in purifications of this
[Cratylus] [776] HERMOGENES: With all my heart; for am very curious to hear the rest of the
[Cratylus] [780] we have got a sort of outline of the enquiry? Are there any names which
[Cratylus] [781] witness of themselves that they are not given arbitrarily, but have a
[Cratylus] [782] natural fitness? The names of heroes and of men in general are apt to be
[Cratylus] [784] as we were saying, they may have no business; or they are the expression of
[Cratylus] [785] a wish like Eutychides (the son of good fortune), or Sosias (the Saviour),
[Cratylus] [786] or Theophilus (the beloved of God), and others. But I think that we had
[Cratylus] [787] better leave these, for there will be more chance of finding correctness in
[Cratylus] [788] the names of immutable essences;--there ought to have been more care taken
[Cratylus] [794] SOCRATES: Ought we not to begin with the consideration of the Gods, and
[Cratylus] [799] SOCRATES: My notion would be something of this sort:--I suspect that the
[Cratylus] [800] sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven, which are still the Gods of many
[Cratylus] [813] SOCRATES: Demons! And what do you consider to be the meaning of this
[Cratylus] [822] SOCRATES: Do you not remember that he speaks of a golden race of men who
[Cratylus] [827] SOCRATES: He says of them--
[Cratylus] [831] Beneficent, averters of ills, guardians of mortal men.' (Hesiod, Works and
[Cratylus] [837] golden men, not men literally made of gold, but good and noble; and I am
[Cratylus] [838] convinced of this, because he further says that we are the iron race.
[Cratylus] [842] SOCRATES: And do you not suppose that good men of our own day would by him
[Cratylus] [843] be said to be of golden race?
[Cratylus] [860] HERMOGENES: Then I rather think that I am of one mind with you; but what
[Cratylus] [861] is the meaning of the word 'hero'? (Eros with an eta, in the old writing
[Cratylus] [865] is not much altered, and signifies that they were born of love.
[Cratylus] [873] SOCRATES: All of them sprang either from the love of a God for a mortal
[Cratylus] [874] woman, or of a mortal man for a Goddess; think of the word in the old
[Cratylus] [876] alteration of Eros, from whom the heroes sprang: either this is the
[Cratylus] [881] enough; the noble breed of heroes are a tribe of sophists and rhetors. But
[Cratylus] [887] SOCRATES: That is to say, you trust to the inspiration of Euthyphro.
[Cratylus] [889] HERMOGENES: Of course.
[Cratylus] [897] of the iotas and sound the middle syllable grave instead of acute; as, on
[Cratylus] [898] the other hand, letters are sometimes inserted in words instead of being
[Cratylus] [899] omitted, and the acute takes the place of the grave.
[Cratylus] [904] noun, appears to be a case just of this sort, for one letter, which is the
[Cratylus] [913] hence he alone of all animals is rightly anthropos, meaning anathron a
[Cratylus] [922] You know the distinction of soul and body?
[Cratylus] [924] SOCRATES: Of course.
[Cratylus] [928] SOCRATES: You want me first of all to examine the natural fitness of the
[Cratylus] [929] word psuche (soul), and then of the word soma (body)?
[Cratylus] [935] when in the body is the source of life, and gives the power of breath and
[Cratylus] [939] more acceptable to the disciples of Euthyphro, for I am afraid that they
[Cratylus] [945] to the entire nature of the body? What else but the soul?
[Cratylus] [950] ordering and containing principle of all things?
[Cratylus] [962] this was the true meaning of the name.
[Cratylus] [964] HERMOGENES: But what shall we say of the next word?
[Cratylus] [972] (sema) of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life;
[Cratylus] [973] or again the index of the soul, because the soul gives indications to
[Cratylus] [974] (semainei) the body; probably the Orphic poets were the inventors of the
[Cratylus] [976] punishment of sin, and that the body is an enclosure or prison in which the
[Cratylus] [978] until the penalty is paid; according to this view, not even a letter of the
[Cratylus] [981] HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that we have said enough of this class of
[Cratylus] [982] words. But have we any more explanations of the names of the Gods, like
[Cratylus] [983] that which you were giving of Zeus? I should like to know whether any
[Cratylus] [984] similar principle of correctness is to be applied to them.
[Cratylus] [987] which, as men of sense, we must acknowledge,--that of the Gods we know
[Cratylus] [988] nothing, either of their natures or of the names which they give
[Cratylus] [990] whatever they may be, are true. And this is the best of all principles;
[Cratylus] [992] sort or kind of names or patronymics which they like, because we do not
[Cratylus] [993] know of any other. That also, I think, is a very good custom, and one
[Cratylus] [997] meaning of men in giving them these names,--in this there can be small
[Cratylus] [1011] SOCRATES: My dear Hermogenes, the first imposers of names must surely have
[Cratylus] [1015] HERMOGENES: Well, and what of them?
[Cratylus] [1017] SOCRATES: They are the men to whom I should attribute the imposition of
[Cratylus] [1020] and by others again osia. Now that the essence of things should be called
[Cratylus] [1021] estia, which is akin to the first of these (esia = estia), is rational
[Cratylus] [1024] for ousia, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who
[Cratylus] [1026] natural enough if they meant that estia was the essence of things. Those
[Cratylus] [1027] again who read osia seem to have inclined to the opinion of Heracleitus,
[Cratylus] [1029] (othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore
[Cratylus] [1030] rightly called osia. Enough of this, which is all that we who know nothing
[Cratylus] [1032] Cronos, although the name of Cronos has been already discussed. But I dare
[Cratylus] [1037] SOCRATES: My good friend, I have discovered a hive of wisdom.
[Cratylus] [1039] HERMOGENES: Of what nature?
[Cratylus] [1045] SOCRATES: I fancy to myself Heracleitus repeating wise traditions of
[Cratylus] [1046] antiquity as old as the days of Cronos and Rhea, and of which Homer also
[Cratylus] [1052] nothing at rest; he compares them to the stream of a river, and says that
[Cratylus] [1058] names of Cronos and Rhea to the ancestors of the Gods, agreed pretty much
[Cratylus] [1059] in the doctrine of Heracleitus? Is the giving of the names of streams to
[Cratylus] [1060] both of them purely accidental? Compare the line in which Homer, and, as I
[Cratylus] [1061] believe, Hesiod also, tells of
[Cratylus] [1063] 'Ocean, the origin of Gods, and mother Tethys (Il.--the line is not found
[Cratylus] [1064] in the extant works of Hesiod.).'
[Cratylus] [1068] 'The fair river of Ocean was the first to marry, and he espoused his sister
[Cratylus] [1071] You see that this is a remarkable coincidence, and all in the direction of
[Cratylus] [1075] I do not understand the meaning of the name Tethys.
[Cratylus] [1077] SOCRATES: Well, that is almost self-explained, being only the name of a
[Cratylus] [1080] is made up of these two words.
[Cratylus] [1084] SOCRATES: To be sure. But what comes next?--of Zeus we have spoken.
[Cratylus] [1093] SOCRATES: Poseidon is Posidesmos, the chain of the feet; the original
[Cratylus] [1094] inventor of the name had been stopped by the watery element in his walks,
[Cratylus] [1095] and not allowed to go on, and therefore he called the ruler of this element
[Cratylus] [1099] And perhaps also he being the shaker of the earth, has been named from
[Cratylus] [1101] wealth (Ploutos), and his name means the giver of wealth, which comes out
[Cratylus] [1102] of the earth beneath. People in general appear to imagine that the term
[Cratylus] [1108] SOCRATES: In spite of the mistakes which are made about the power of this
[Cratylus] [1109] deity, and the foolish fears which people have of him, such as the fear of
[Cratylus] [1110] always being with him after death, and of the soul denuded of the body
[Cratylus] [1112] that the office and name of the God really correspond.
[Cratylus] [1123] he did not bind those who depart to him by the strongest of chains?
[Cratylus] [1127] SOCRATES: And if by the greatest of chains, then by some desire, as I
[Cratylus] [1148] of the world, have been laid under his spells. Such a charm, as I imagine,
[Cratylus] [1150] is the perfect and accomplished Sophist, and the great benefactor of the
[Cratylus] [1151] inhabitants of the other world; and even to us who are upon earth he sends
[Cratylus] [1155] soul is liberated from the desires and evils of the body. Now there is a
[Cratylus] [1156] great deal of philosophy and reflection in that; for in their liberated
[Cratylus] [1157] state he can bind them with the desire of virtue, but while they are
[Cratylus] [1161] HERMOGENES: There is a deal of truth in what you say.
[Cratylus] [1164] the unseen (aeides)--far otherwise, but from his knowledge (eidenai) of all
[Cratylus] [1167] HERMOGENES: Very good; and what do we say of Demeter, and Here, and
[Cratylus] [1173] was thinking of the heavens, and may be only a disguise of the air (aer),
[Cratylus] [1174] putting the end in the place of the beginning. You will recognize the
[Cratylus] [1175] truth of this if you repeat the letters of Here several times over. People
[Cratylus] [1176] dread the name of Pherephatta as they dread the name of Apollo,--and with
[Cratylus] [1178] ignorance of the nature of names. But they go changing the name into
[Cratylus] [1193] SOCRATES: But the name, in my opinion, is really most expressive of the
[Cratylus] [1194] power of the God.
[Cratylus] [1199] single name could have been better adapted to express the attributes of the
[Cratylus] [1200] God, embracing and in a manner signifying all four of them,--music, and
[Cratylus] [1206] SOCRATES: Say rather an harmonious name, as beseems the God of Harmony.
[Cratylus] [1221] in respect of his powers of divination, and his truth and sincerity, which
[Cratylus] [1227] words the alpha is supposed to mean 'together,' so the meaning of the name
[Cratylus] [1228] Apollo will be 'moving together,' whether in the poles of heaven as they
[Cratylus] [1229] are called, or in the harmony of song, which is termed concord, because he
[Cratylus] [1235] added in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of destruction (apolon). Now
[Cratylus] [1236] the suspicion of this destructive power still haunts the minds of some who
[Cratylus] [1237] do not consider the true value of the name, which, as I was saying just
[Cratylus] [1238] now, has reference to all the powers of the God, who is the single one, the
[Cratylus] [1240] apolouon, omopolon). The name of the Muses and of music would seem to be
[Cratylus] [1245] smooth and easy-going way of behaving. Artemis is named from her healthy
[Cratylus] [1246] (artemes), well-ordered nature, and because of her love of virginity,
[Cratylus] [1248] hating intercourse of the sexes (ton aroton misesasa). He who gave the
[Cratylus] [1249] Goddess her name may have had any or all of these reasons.
[Cratylus] [1251] HERMOGENES: What is the meaning of Dionysus and Aphrodite?
[Cratylus] [1253] SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, you ask a solemn question; there is a serious
[Cratylus] [1254] and also a facetious explanation of both these names; the serious
[Cratylus] [1257] simply didous oinon (giver of wine), Didoinusos, as he might be called in
[Cratylus] [1260] derivation of Aphrodite, born of the foam (aphros), may be fairly accepted
[Cratylus] [1261] on the authority of Hesiod.
[Cratylus] [1270] SOCRATES: There is no difficulty in explaining the other appellation of
[Cratylus] [1280] armed dances. For the elevation of oneself or anything else above the
[Cratylus] [1281] earth, or by the use of the hands, we call shaking (pallein), or dancing.
[Cratylus] [1285] SOCRATES: Then that is the explanation of the name Pallas?
[Cratylus] [1287] HERMOGENES: Yes; but what do you say of the other name?
[Cratylus] [1294] interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the
[Cratylus] [1295] ancients. For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that
[Cratylus] [1297] maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her; and indeed
[Cratylus] [1299] though he would say: This is she who has the mind of God (Theonoa);--using
[Cratylus] [1302] theonoa = theounoa is a curtailed form of theou noesis, but the omitted
[Cratylus] [1305] be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this
[Cratylus] [1310] HERMOGENES: But what do you say of Hephaestus?
[Cratylus] [1312] SOCRATES: Speak you of the princely lord of light (Phaeos istora)?
[Cratylus] [1322] SOCRATES: To prevent that, you had better ask what is the derivation of
[Cratylus] [1329] is the meaning of arratos: the latter is a derivation in every way
[Cratylus] [1330] appropriate to the God of war.
[Cratylus] [1334] SOCRATES: And now, by the Gods, let us have no more of the Gods, for I am
[Cratylus] [1335] afraid of them; ask about anything but them, and thou shalt see how the
[Cratylus] [1336] steeds of Euthyphro can prance.
[Cratylus] [1338] HERMOGENES: Only one more God! I should like to know about Hermes, of
[Cratylus] [1344] liar, or bargainer; all that sort of thing has a great deal to do with
[Cratylus] [1345] language; as I was telling you, the word eirein is expressive of the use of
[Cratylus] [1347] 'he contrived'--out of these two words, eirein and mesasthai, the
[Cratylus] [1348] legislator formed the name of the God who invented language and speech; and
[Cratylus] [1349] we may imagine him dictating to us the use of this name: 'O my friends,'
[Cratylus] [1350] says he to us, 'seeing that he is the contriver of tales or speeches, you
[Cratylus] [1356] that I was no true son of Hermes (Ermogenes), for I am not a good hand at
[Cratylus] [1360] son of Hermes.
[Cratylus] [1371] is rough like the goat of tragedy; for tales and falsehoods have generally
[Cratylus] [1372] to do with the tragic or goatish life, and tragedy is the place of them?
[Cratylus] [1376] SOCRATES: Then surely Pan, who is the declarer of all things (pan) and the
[Cratylus] [1377] perpetual mover (aei polon) of all things, is rightly called aipolos (goat-
[Cratylus] [1378] herd), he being the two-formed son of Hermes, smooth in his upper part, and
[Cratylus] [1379] rough and goatlike in his lower regions. And, as the son of Hermes, he is
[Cratylus] [1380] speech or the brother of speech, and that brother should be like brother is
[Cratylus] [1384] HERMOGENES: From these sort of Gods, by all means, Socrates. But why
[Cratylus] [1385] should we not discuss another kind of Gods--the sun, moon, stars, earth,
[Cratylus] [1393] SOCRATES: How would you have me begin? Shall I take first of all him whom
[Cratylus] [1398] SOCRATES: The origin of the sun will probably be clearer in the Doric
[Cratylus] [1401] rolling in his course (aei eilein ion) about the earth; or from aiolein, of
[Cratylus] [1403] variegates the productions of the earth.
[Cratylus] [1422] (enon), if the disciples of Anaxagoras say truly. For the sun in his
[Cratylus] [1423] revolution always adds new light, and there is the old light of the
[Cratylus] [1436] HERMOGENES: A real dithyrambic sort of name that, Socrates. But what do
[Cratylus] [1437] you say of the month and the stars?
[Cratylus] [1440] suffering diminution; the name of astra (stars) seems to be derived from
[Cratylus] [1441] astrape, which is an improvement on anastrope, signifying the upsetting of
[Cratylus] [1444] HERMOGENES: What do you say of pur (fire) and udor (water)?
[Cratylus] [1446] SOCRATES: I am at a loss how to explain pur; either the muse of Euthyphro
[Cratylus] [1449] difficulty of this sort.
[Cratylus] [1454] tell me what is the meaning of the pur?
[Cratylus] [1458] SOCRATES: Shall I tell you what I suspect to be the true explanation of
[Cratylus] [1459] this and several other words?--My belief is that they are of foreign
[Cratylus] [1460] origin. For the Hellenes, especially those who were under the dominion of
[Cratylus] [1466] of these names according to the Hellenic language, and not according to the
[Cratylus] [1478] SOCRATES: Any violent interpretations of the words should be avoided; for
[Cratylus] [1479] something to say about them may easily be found. And thus I get rid of pur
[Cratylus] [1482] because the flux of the air is wind, and the poets call the winds 'air-
[Cratylus] [1484] (aetorroun), in the sense of wind-flux (pneumatorroun); and because this
[Cratylus] [1488] air (aei thei peri tou aera reon). The meaning of the word ge (earth)
[Cratylus] [1489] comes out better when in the form of gaia, for the earth may be truly
[Cratylus] [1490] called 'mother' (gaia, genneteira), as in the language of Homer (Od.)
[Cratylus] [1497] HERMOGENES: There are orai (the seasons), and the two names of the year,
[Cratylus] [1503] fruits of the earth. The words eniautos and etos appear to be the same,--
[Cratylus] [1504] 'that which brings to light the plants and growths of the earth in their
[Cratylus] [1507] just as the original name of Zeus was divided into Zena and Dia; and the
[Cratylus] [1508] whole proposition means that his power of reviewing from within is one, but
[Cratylus] [1509] has two names, two words etos and eniautos being thus formed out of a
[Cratylus] [1521] would explain the virtues. What principle of correctness is there in those
[Cratylus] [1522] charming words--wisdom, understanding, justice, and the rest of them?
[Cratylus] [1524] SOCRATES: That is a tremendous class of names which you are disinterring;
[Cratylus] [1525] still, as I have put on the lion's skin, I must not be faint of heart; and
[Cratylus] [1526] I suppose that I must consider the meaning of wisdom (phronesis) and
[Cratylus] [1532] SOCRATES: By the dog of Egypt I have a not bad notion which came into my
[Cratylus] [1533] head only this moment: I believe that the primeval givers of names were
[Cratylus] [1534] undoubtedly like too many of our modern philosophers, who, in their search
[Cratylus] [1535] after the nature of things, are always getting dizzy from constantly going
[Cratylus] [1538] of their own internal condition, they suppose to be a reality of nature;
[Cratylus] [1540] motion, and that the world is always full of every sort of motion and
[Cratylus] [1541] change. The consideration of the names which I mentioned has led me into
[Cratylus] [1547] just cited, the motion or flux or generation of things is most surely
[Cratylus] [1550] HERMOGENES: No, indeed, I never thought of it.
[Cratylus] [1552] SOCRATES: Take the first of those which you mentioned; clearly that is a
[Cratylus] [1553] name indicative of motion.
[Cratylus] [1558] (perception of motion and flux), or perhaps phoras onesis (the blessing of
[Cratylus] [1561] (nomesis) of generation, for to ponder is the same as to consider; or, if
[Cratylus] [1563] is neou esis (the desire of the new); the word neos implies that the world
[Cratylus] [1564] is always in process of creation. The giver of the name wanted to express
[Cratylus] [1565] this longing of the soul, for the original name was neoesis, and not
[Cratylus] [1566] noesis; but eta took the place of a double epsilon. The word sophrosune is
[Cratylus] [1567] the salvation (soteria) of that wisdom (phronesis) which we were just now
[Cratylus] [1569] soul which is good for anything follows (epetai) the motion of things,
[Cratylus] [1572] (understanding) may be regarded in like manner as a kind of conclusion; the
[Cratylus] [1574] know), implies the progression of the soul in company with the nature of
[Cratylus] [1575] things. Sophia (wisdom) is very dark, and appears not to be of native
[Cratylus] [1576] growth; the meaning is, touching the motion or stream of things. You must
[Cratylus] [1577] remember that the poets, when they speak of the commencement of any rapid
[Cratylus] [1580] Lacedaemonians signify rapid motion, and the touching (epaphe) of motion is
[Cratylus] [1583] for, although all things move, still there are degrees of motion; some are
[Cratylus] [1585] their swiftness, and this admirable part of nature is called agathon.
[Cratylus] [1586] Dikaiosune (justice) is clearly dikaiou sunesis (understanding of the
[Cratylus] [1589] those who suppose all things to be in motion conceive the greater part of
[Cratylus] [1591] power which passes through all this, and is the instrument of creation in
[Cratylus] [1597] dikaion; the letter k is only added for the sake of euphony. Thus far, as
[Cratylus] [1598] I was saying, there is a general agreement about the nature of justice; but
[Cratylus] [1600] that the justice of which I am speaking is also the cause of the world:
[Cratylus] [1601] now a cause is that because of which anything is created; and some one
[Cratylus] [1603] partaking of the nature of the cause, and I begin, after hearing what he
[Cratylus] [1608] with one derivation after another, and at length they quarrel. For one of
[Cratylus] [1610] (diaionta) and burning (kaonta) element which is the guardian of nature.
[Cratylus] [1616] abstraction of heat in the fire.' Another man professes to laugh at all
[Cratylus] [1620] greater perplexity about the nature of justice than I was before I began to
[Cratylus] [1621] learn. But still I am of opinion that the name, which has led me into this
[Cratylus] [1631] SOCRATES: Well, then, let me go on in the hope of making you believe in
[Cratylus] [1632] the originality of the rest. What remains after justice? I do not think
[Cratylus] [1635] (diaiontos), need not be considered. Well, then, the name of andreia seems
[Cratylus] [1636] to imply a battle;--this battle is in the world of existence, and according
[Cratylus] [1637] to the doctrine of flux is only the counterflux (enantia rhon): if you
[Cratylus] [1642] also contain a similar allusion to the same principle of the upward flux
[Cratylus] [1650] the growth of youth, which is swift and sudden ever. And this is expressed
[Cratylus] [1651] by the legislator in the name, which is a compound of thein (running), and
[Cratylus] [1653] ground. There are a good many names generally thought to be of importance,
[Cratylus] [1658] SOCRATES: There is the meaning of the word techne (art), for example.
[Cratylus] [1663] possession of mind: you have only to take away the tau and insert two
[Cratylus] [1670] off letters for the sake of euphony, and twisting and bedizening them in
[Cratylus] [1671] all sorts of ways: and time too may have had a share in the change. Take,
[Cratylus] [1673] surely be the addition of some one who cares nothing about the truth, but
[Cratylus] [1674] thinks only of putting the mouth into shape. And the additions are often
[Cratylus] [1676] of the word. Another example is the word sphigx, sphiggos, which ought
[Cratylus] [1688] yourself, should observe the laws of moderation and probability.
[Cratylus] [1692] SOCRATES: And mine, too, Hermogenes. But do not be too much of a
[Cratylus] [1693] precisian, or 'you will unnerve me of my strength (Iliad.).' When you have
[Cratylus] [1695] top of my bent, for I conceive mechane to be a sign of great accomplishment
[Cratylus] [1696] --anein; for mekos has the meaning of greatness, and these two, mekos and
[Cratylus] [1698] top of my bent, I should like to consider the meaning of the two words
[Cratylus] [1702] this evil motion when existing in the soul has the general name of kakia,
[Cratylus] [1703] or vice, specially appropriated to it. The meaning of kakos ienai may be
[Cratylus] [1704] further illustrated by the use of deilia (cowardice), which ought to have
[Cratylus] [1708] expresses the greatest and strongest bond of the soul; and aporia
[Cratylus] [1709] (difficulty) is an evil of the same nature (from a (alpha) not, and
[Cratylus] [1712] or limping and halting; of which the consequence is, that the soul becomes
[Cratylus] [1713] filled with vice. And if kakia is the name of this sort of thing, arete
[Cratylus] [1714] will be the opposite of it, signifying in the first place ease of motion,
[Cratylus] [1715] then that the stream of the good soul is unimpeded, and has therefore the
[Cratylus] [1716] attribute of ever flowing without let or hindrance, and is therefore called
[Cratylus] [1720] that you will deem this to be another invention of mine, but I think that
[Cratylus] [1723] HERMOGENES: But what is the meaning of kakon, which has played so great a
[Cratylus] [1731] SOCRATES: The device of a foreign origin, which I shall give to this word
[Cratylus] [1735] words and endeavour to see the rationale of kalon and aischron.
[Cratylus] [1737] SOCRATES: The meaning of aischron is evident, being only aei ischon roes
[Cratylus] [1739] derivations. For the name-giver was a great enemy to stagnation of all
[Cratylus] [1743] HERMOGENES: But what do you say of kalon?
[Cratylus] [1759] SOCRATES: And must not this be the mind of Gods, or of men, or of both?
[Cratylus] [1768] SOCRATES: And are not the works of intelligence and mind worthy of praise,
[Cratylus] [1769] and are not other works worthy of blame?
[Cratylus] [1773] SOCRATES: Physic does the work of a physician, and carpentering does the
[Cratylus] [1774] works of a carpenter?
[Cratylus] [1778] SOCRATES: And the principle of beauty does the works of beauty?
[Cratylus] [1780] HERMOGENES: Of course.
[Cratylus] [1787] which we recognize and speak of as the beautiful?
[Cratylus] [1797] SOCRATES: The meaning of sumpheron (expedient) I think that you may
[Cratylus] [1798] discover for yourself by the light of the previous examples,--for it is a
[Cratylus] [1799] sister word to episteme, meaning just the motion (pora) of the soul
[Cratylus] [1809] intended to express the power of admixture (kerannumenon) and universal
[Cratylus] [1811] instead of a nu, and so made kerdos.
[Cratylus] [1817] in the sense of swift. You regard the profitable (lusiteloun), as that
[Cratylus] [1818] which being the swiftest thing in existence, allows of no stay in things
[Cratylus] [1819] and no pause or end of motion, but always, if there begins to be any end,
[Cratylus] [1821] in this point of view, as appears to me, the good is happily denominated
[Cratylus] [1822] lusiteloun--being that which looses (luon) the end (telos) of motion.
[Cratylus] [1827] HERMOGENES: And what do you say of their opposites?
[Cratylus] [1829] SOCRATES: Of such as are mere negatives I hardly think that I need speak.
[Cratylus] [1845] or bind); for aptein is the same as dein, and dein is always a term of
[Cratylus] [1849] HERMOGENES: You bring out curious results, Socrates, in the use of names;
[Cratylus] [1853] SOCRATES: That is the fault of the makers of the name, Hermogenes; not
[Cratylus] [1856] HERMOGENES: Very true; but what is the derivation of zemiodes?
[Cratylus] [1858] SOCRATES: What is the meaning of zemiodes?--let me remark, Hermogenes, how
[Cratylus] [1859] right I was in saying that great changes are made in the meaning of words
[Cratylus] [1862] which occurs to me at the moment, and reminds me of what I was going to say
[Cratylus] [1863] to you, that the fine fashionable language of modern times has twisted and
[Cratylus] [1864] disguised and entirely altered the original meaning both of deon, and also
[Cratylus] [1865] of zemiodes, which in the old language is clearly indicated.
[Cratylus] [1871] of the ancient language, but now they change iota into eta or epsilon, and
[Cratylus] [1872] delta into zeta; this is supposed to increase the grandeur of the sound.
[Cratylus] [1881] SOCRATES: Do you observe that only the ancient form shows the intention of
[Cratylus] [1882] the giver of the name? of which the reason is, that men long for
[Cratylus] [1899] word expresses the binding of two together (duein agoge) for the purpose of
[Cratylus] [1901] examples of similar changes.
[Cratylus] [1905] SOCRATES: Proceeding in the same train of thought I may remark that the
[Cratylus] [1906] word deon (obligation) has a meaning which is the opposite of all the other
[Cratylus] [1907] appellations of good; for deon is here a species of good, and is,
[Cratylus] [1908] nevertheless, the chain (desmos) or hinderer of motion, and therefore own
[Cratylus] [1909] brother of blaberon.
[Cratylus] [1914] the correct one, and read dion instead of deon; if you convert the epsilon
[Cratylus] [1917] of praise; and the author of names has not contradicted himself, but in all
[Cratylus] [1920] (expedient), euporon (plenteous), the same conception is implied of the
[Cratylus] [1927] HERMOGENES: What do you say of edone (pleasure), lupe (pain), epithumia
[Cratylus] [1933] altered by the insertion of the delta. Lupe appears to be derived from the
[Cratylus] [1935] the hindrance of motion (alpha and ienai); algedon (distress), if I am not
[Cratylus] [1939] very expression of the fluency and diffusion of the soul (cheo); terpsis
[Cratylus] [1947] called from the rushing (thuseos) and boiling of the soul; imeros (desire)
[Cratylus] [1950] and violent attraction of the soul to them, and is termed imeros from
[Cratylus] [1951] possessing this power; pothos (longing) is expressive of the desire of that
[Cratylus] [1960] HERMOGENES: What do you think of doxa (opinion), and that class of words?
[Cratylus] [1963] march of the soul in the pursuit of knowledge, or from the shooting of a
[Cratylus] [1965] (thinking), which is only oisis (moving), and implies the movement of the
[Cratylus] [1966] soul to the essential nature of each thing--just as boule (counsel) has to
[Cratylus] [1967] do with shooting (bole); and boulesthai (to wish) combines the notion of
[Cratylus] [1969] involve the idea of shooting, just as aboulia, absence of counsel, on the
[Cratylus] [1970] other hand, is a mishap, or missing, or mistaking of the mark, or aim, or
[Cratylus] [1983] derivation of the word anagkaion (necessary) an agke ion, going through a
[Cratylus] [1989] enquire why the word onoma (name), which is the theme of our discussion,
[Cratylus] [1990] has this name of onoma.
[Cratylus] [2000] agglomeration of theia ale (divine wandering), implying the divine motion
[Cratylus] [2001] of existence; pseudos (falsehood) is the opposite of motion; here is
[Cratylus] [2003] which he compares to sleep (eudein); but the original meaning of the word
[Cratylus] [2004] is disguised by the addition of psi; on and ousia are ion with an iota
[Cratylus] [2006] moving (ion), and the same may be said of not being, which is likewise
[Cratylus] [2017] SOCRATES: One way of giving the appearance of an answer has been already
[Cratylus] [2022] SOCRATES: To say that names which we do not understand are of foreign
[Cratylus] [2023] origin; and this is very likely the right answer, and something of this
[Cratylus] [2024] kind may be true of them; but also the original forms of words may have
[Cratylus] [2025] been lost in the lapse of ages; names have been so twisted in all manner of
[Cratylus] [2034] of which the words are formed, and keeps on always repeating this process,
[Cratylus] [2041] elements of all other names and sentences; for these cannot be supposed to
[Cratylus] [2042] be made up of other names? The word agathon (good), for example, is, as we
[Cratylus] [2043] were saying, a compound of agastos (admirable) and thoos (swift). And
[Cratylus] [2044] probably thoos is made up of other elements, and these again of others.
[Cratylus] [2045] But if we take a word which is incapable of further resolution, then we
[Cratylus] [2060] stating the principle of primary names.
[Cratylus] [2071] indicate the nature of things.
[Cratylus] [2073] HERMOGENES: Of course.
[Cratylus] [2075] SOCRATES: And that this is true of the primary quite as much as of the
[Cratylus] [2086] analysis show the natures of things, as far as they can be shown; which
[Cratylus] [2090] signs with the hands and head and the rest of the body?
[Cratylus] [2094] SOCRATES: We should imitate the nature of the thing; the elevation of our
[Cratylus] [2097] were describing the running of a horse, or any other animal, we should make
[Cratylus] [2108] tongue, or mouth, the expression is simply their imitation of that which we
[Cratylus] [2113] SOCRATES: Then a name is a vocal imitation of that which the vocal
[Cratylus] [2132] Socrates, what sort of an imitation is a name?
[Cratylus] [2135] although that is also vocal; nor, again, an imitation of what music
[Cratylus] [2142] SOCRATES: But the art of naming appears not to be concerned with
[Cratylus] [2143] imitations of this kind; the arts which have to do with them are music and
[Cratylus] [2148] SOCRATES: Again, is there not an essence of each thing, just as there is a
[Cratylus] [2149] colour, or sound? And is there not an essence of colour and sound as well
[Cratylus] [2150] as of anything else which may be said to have an essence?
[Cratylus] [2154] SOCRATES: Well, and if any one could express the essence of each thing in
[Cratylus] [2155] letters and syllables, would he not express the nature of each thing?
[Cratylus] [2163] of whom we are in search.
[Cratylus] [2168] nature of them in letters and syllables in such a manner as to imitate the
[Cratylus] [2178] where does the imitator begin? Imitation of the essence is made by
[Cratylus] [2181] powers of elementary, and then of compound sounds, and when they have done
[Cratylus] [2182] so, but not before, they proceed to the consideration of rhythms?
[Cratylus] [2189] distinctions of the learned; also the semivowels, which are neither vowels,
[Cratylus] [2191] when we have perfected the classification of things, we shall give them
[Cratylus] [2192] names, and see whether, as in the case of letters, there are any classes to
[Cratylus] [2197] one thing, or whether there is to be an admixture of several of them; just,
[Cratylus] [2200] as his method is when he has to paint flesh colour or anything of that
[Cratylus] [2202] too, we shall apply letters to the expression of objects, either single
[Cratylus] [2205] last, from the combinations of nouns and verbs arrive at language, large
[Cratylus] [2207] speech by the art of the namer or the rhetorician, or by some other art.
[Cratylus] [2208] Not that I am literally speaking of ourselves, but I was carried away--
[Cratylus] [2211] manner, if we are to attain a scientific view of the whole subject, and we
[Cratylus] [2213] rightly given or not, for if they are not, the composition of them, my dear
[Cratylus] [2214] Hermogenes, will be a sorry piece of work, and in the wrong direction.
[Cratylus] [2224] can, something about them, according to the measure of our ability, saying
[Cratylus] [2225] by way of preface, as I said before of the Gods, that of the truth about
[Cratylus] [2226] them we know nothing, and do but entertain human notions of them. And in
[Cratylus] [2236] avoided--there is no better principle to which we can look for the truth of
[Cratylus] [2237] first names. Deprived of this, we must have recourse to divine help, like
[Cratylus] [2239] and must get out of our difficulty in like fashion, by saying that 'the
[Cratylus] [2241] best contrivance, or perhaps that other notion may be even better still, of
[Cratylus] [2244] the same sort of excuse as the last; for all these are not reasons but only
[Cratylus] [2245] ingenious excuses for having no reasons concerning the truth of words. And
[Cratylus] [2246] yet any sort of ignorance of first or primitive names involves an ignorance
[Cratylus] [2247] of secondary words; for they can only be explained by the primary. Clearly
[Cratylus] [2248] then the professor of languages should be able to give a very lucid
[Cratylus] [2249] explanation of first names, or let him be assured he will only talk
[Cratylus] [2254] SOCRATES: My first notions of original names are truly wild and
[Cratylus] [2263] explained the meaning of this latter word, which is just iesis (going); for
[Cratylus] [2268] change of the eta and the insertion of the nu, we have kinesis, which
[Cratylus] [2269] should have been kieinsis or eisis; and stasis is the negative of ienai (or
[Cratylus] [2271] saying, appeared to the imposer of names an excellent instrument for the
[Cratylus] [2272] expression of motion; and he frequently uses the letter for this purpose:
[Cratylus] [2276] (break), kermatixein (crumble), rumbein (whirl): of all these sorts of
[Cratylus] [2279] rest in the pronunciation of this letter, which he therefore used in order
[Cratylus] [2282] iota as imitative of motion, ienai, iesthai. And there is another class of
[Cratylus] [2283] letters, phi, psi, sigma, and xi, of which the pronunciation is accompanied
[Cratylus] [2284] by great expenditure of breath; these are used in the imitation of such
[Cratylus] [2286] shaken), seismos (shock), and are always introduced by the giver of names
[Cratylus] [2288] thought that the closing and pressure of the tongue in the utterance of
[Cratylus] [2289] delta and tau was expressive of binding and rest in a place: he further
[Cratylus] [2290] observed the liquid movement of lambda, in the pronunciation of which the
[Cratylus] [2291] tongue slips, and in this he found the expression of smoothness, as in
[Cratylus] [2293] (sleek), in the word kollodes (gluey), and the like: the heavier sound of
[Cratylus] [2294] gamma detained the slipping tongue, and the union of the two gave the
[Cratylus] [2295] notion of a glutinous clammy nature, as in glischros, glukus, gloiodes.
[Cratylus] [2297] notion of inwardness; hence he introduced the sound in endos and entos:
[Cratylus] [2298] alpha he assigned to the expression of size, and nu of length, because they
[Cratylus] [2299] are great letters: omicron was the sign of roundness, and therefore there
[Cratylus] [2300] is plenty of omicron mixed up in the word goggulon (round). Thus did the
[Cratylus] [2302] on them names and signs, and out of them by imitation compounding other
[Cratylus] [2303] signs. That is my view, Hermogenes, of the truth of names; but I should
[Cratylus] [2307] me; he says that there is a fitness of names, but he never explains what is
[Cratylus] [2309] not. Tell me now, Cratylus, here in the presence of Socrates, do you agree
[Cratylus] [2311] of your own? and if you have, tell me what your view is, and then you will
[Cratylus] [2312] either learn of Socrates, or Socrates and I will learn of you.
[Cratylus] [2315] learn, or I explain, any subject of importance all in a moment; at any
[Cratylus] [2317] of all.
[Cratylus] [2330] have had teachers, and if you have really a better theory of the truth of
[Cratylus] [2331] names, you may count me in the number of your disciples.
[Cratylus] [2333] CRATYLUS: You are right, Socrates, in saying that I have made a study of
[Cratylus] [2338] 'Illustrious Ajax, son of Telamon, lord of the people,
[Cratylus] [2343] have long been an inhabitant of your breast, unconsciously to yourself.
[Cratylus] [2350] aft,' in the words of the aforesaid Homer. And now let me see; where are
[Cratylus] [2351] we? Have we not been saying that the correct name indicates the nature of
[Cratylus] [2367] CRATYLUS: The legislators, of whom you spoke at first.
[Cratylus] [2370] explain what I mean: of painters, some are better and some worse?
[Cratylus] [2375] better, and the worse execute them worse; and of builders also, the better
[Cratylus] [2398] SOCRATES: Well, what do you say to the name of our friend Hermogenes,
[Cratylus] [2399] which was mentioned before:--assuming that he has nothing of the nature of
[Cratylus] [2404] appears to be his, and is really the name of somebody else, who has the
[Cratylus] [2414] is your meaning I should answer, that there have been plenty of liars in
[Cratylus] [2421] SOCRATES: Your argument, friend, is too subtle for a man of my age. But I
[Cratylus] [2422] should like to know whether you are one of those philosophers who think
[Cratylus] [2429] stranger, Hermogenes, son of Smicrion'--these words, whether spoken, said,
[Cratylus] [2441] purpose; and that his words would be an unmeaning sound like the noise of
[Cratylus] [2451] of the thing?
[Cratylus] [2455] SOCRATES: And you would say that pictures are also imitations of things,
[Cratylus] [2461] Please to say, then, whether both sorts of imitation (I mean both pictures
[Cratylus] [2462] or words) are not equally attributable and applicable to the things of
[Cratylus] [2468] of the man to the man, and of the woman to the woman; and so on?
[Cratylus] [2472] SOCRATES: And conversely you may attribute the likeness of the man to the
[Cratylus] [2473] woman, and of the woman to the man?
[Cratylus] [2477] SOCRATES: And are both modes of assigning them right, or only the first?
[Cratylus] [2481] SOCRATES: That is to say, the mode of assignment which attributes to each
[Cratylus] [2488] first mode of assignment, whether applied to figures or to names, I call
[Cratylus] [2490] mode of giving and assigning the name which is unlike, I call wrong, and in
[Cratylus] [2491] the case of names, false as well as wrong.
[Cratylus] [2493] CRATYLUS: That may be true, Socrates, in the case of pictures; they may be
[Cratylus] [2494] wrongly assigned; but not in the case of names--they must be always right.
[Cratylus] [2498] likeness of a woman; and when I say 'show,' I mean bring before the sense
[Cratylus] [2499] of sight.
[Cratylus] [2505] 'This is your name'? and may I not then bring to his sense of hearing the
[Cratylus] [2506] imitation of himself, when I say, 'This is a man'; or of a female of the
[Cratylus] [2513] SOCRATES: That is very good of you, if I am right, which need hardly be
[Cratylus] [2515] objects, the right assignment of them we may call truth, and the wrong
[Cratylus] [2516] assignment of them falsehood. Now if there be such a wrong assignment of
[Cratylus] [2517] names, there may also be a wrong or inappropriate assignment of verbs; and
[Cratylus] [2518] if of names and verbs then of the sentences, which are made up of them.
[Cratylus] [2526] too much of them--may there not?
[Cratylus] [2536] nature of things, if he gives all that is appropriate will produce a good
[Cratylus] [2543] SOCRATES: Then the artist of names may be sometimes good, or he may be
[Cratylus] [2548] SOCRATES: And this artist of names is called the legislator?
[Cratylus] [2555] CRATYLUS: Very true, Socrates; but the case of language, you see, is
[Cratylus] [2556] different; for when by the help of grammar we assign the letters alpha or
[Cratylus] [2559] wrongly, but not written at all; and in any of these cases becomes other
[Cratylus] [2568] at once becomes other than ten if a unit be added or subtracted, and so of
[Cratylus] [2572] be an image. Let us suppose the existence of two objects: one of them
[Cratylus] [2573] shall be Cratylus, and the other the image of Cratylus; and we will
[Cratylus] [2575] painter would make of your outward form and colour, but also creates an
[Cratylus] [2579] would you say that this was Cratylus and the image of Cratylus, or that
[Cratylus] [2585] of truth in images, and also in names; and not insist that an image is no
[Cratylus] [2588] counterpart of the realities which they represent?
[Cratylus] [2592] SOCRATES: But then how ridiculous would be the effect of names on things,
[Cratylus] [2593] if they were exactly the same with them! For they would be the doubles of
[Cratylus] [2602] substitution of a wrong letter, and if of a letter also of a noun in a
[Cratylus] [2603] sentence, and if of a noun in a sentence also of a sentence which is not
[Cratylus] [2605] described, so long as the general character of the thing which you are
[Cratylus] [2607] Hermogenes and myself in the particular instance of the names of the
[Cratylus] [2613] of the proper letters are wanting, still the thing is signified;--well, if
[Cratylus] [2614] all the letters are given; not well, when only a few of them are given. I
[Cratylus] [2618] some new notion of correctness of names, and no longer maintain that a name
[Cratylus] [2619] is the expression of a thing in letters or syllables; for if you say both,
[Cratylus] [2634] SOCRATES: Enough then of names which are rightly given. And in names
[Cratylus] [2636] of proper and similar letters, or there would be no likeness; but there
[Cratylus] [2638] formation of the word: you would admit that?
[Cratylus] [2644] SOCRATES: Do you admit a name to be the representation of a thing?
[Cratylus] [2654] representations of things, is there any better way of framing
[Cratylus] [2656] can; or do you prefer the notion of Hermogenes and of many others, who say
[Cratylus] [2658] about them, and who have previous knowledge of the things intended by them,
[Cratylus] [2662] difference, if you are only agreed. Which of these two notions do you
[Cratylus] [2669] out of which the first names are composed must also be like things.
[Cratylus] [2670] Returning to the image of the picture, I would ask, How could any one ever
[Cratylus] [2672] pigments in nature which resembled the things imitated, and out of which
[Cratylus] [2678] unless the original elements of which they are compounded bore some degree
[Cratylus] [2679] of resemblance to the objects of which the names are the imitation: And
[Cratylus] [2686] expressive of rapidity, motion, and hardness? Were we right or wrong in
[Cratylus] [2691] SOCRATES: And that lamda was expressive of smoothness, and softness, and
[Cratylus] [2703] sigma, or is there no significance to one of us?
[Cratylus] [2705] CRATYLUS: Nay, surely there is a significance to both of us.
[Cratylus] [2713] CRATYLUS: Yes; for the purpose of expressing motion.
[Cratylus] [2715] SOCRATES: And what do you say of the insertion of the lamda? for that is
[Cratylus] [2716] expressive not of hardness but of softness.
[Cratylus] [2720] opinion rightly, when you spoke of adding and subtracting letters upon
[Cratylus] [2723] SOCRATES: Good. But still the word is intelligible to both of us; when I
[Cratylus] [2726] CRATYLUS: Yes, my dear friend, and the explanation of that is custom.
[Cratylus] [2729] understand, and you know that I understand the meaning of the sound: this
[Cratylus] [2739] SOCRATES: This indication of my meaning may proceed from unlike as well as
[Cratylus] [2740] from like, for example in the lamda of sklerotes. But if this is true,
[Cratylus] [2741] then you have made a convention with yourself, and the correctness of a
[Cratylus] [2745] convention ever so much, still you must say that the signification of words
[Cratylus] [2749] convention must be supposed to contribute to the indication of our
[Cratylus] [2750] thoughts; for suppose we take the instance of number, how can you ever
[Cratylus] [2753] agreement to have authority in determining the correctness of names? I
[Cratylus] [2755] but I fear that this dragging in of resemblance, as Hermogenes says, is a
[Cratylus] [2756] shabby thing, which has to be supplemented by the mechanical aid of
[Cratylus] [2759] this would be the most perfect state of language; as the opposite is the
[Cratylus] [2760] most imperfect. But let me ask you, what is the force of names, and what
[Cratylus] [2761] is the use of them?
[Cratylus] [2763] CRATYLUS: The use of names, Socrates, as I should imagine, is to inform:
[Cratylus] [2775] SOCRATES: But let us consider what is the nature of this information about
[Cratylus] [2777] of information? or is there any other? What do you say?
[Cratylus] [2779] CRATYLUS: I believe that to be both the only and the best sort of
[Cratylus] [2782] SOCRATES: But do you believe that in the discovery of them, he who
[Cratylus] [2784] of instruction, and is there some other method of enquiry and discovery.
[Cratylus] [2786] CRATYLUS: I certainly believe that the methods of enquiry and discovery
[Cratylus] [2787] are of the same nature as instruction.
[Cratylus] [2790] the search after things, and analyses their meaning, is in great danger of
[Cratylus] [2796] conception of the things which they signified--did he not?
[Cratylus] [2814] in the first part of the process, and are consistently mistaken in the long
[Cratylus] [2816] expend his chief thought and attention on the consideration of his first
[Cratylus] [2821] progress and flux, and that this idea of motion is expressed by names? Do
[Cratylus] [2822] you not conceive that to be the meaning of them?
[Cratylus] [2829] present, and not reject the epsilon, but make an insertion of an iota
[Cratylus] [2830] instead of an epsilon (not pioteme, but epiisteme). Take another example:
[Cratylus] [2831] bebaion (sure) is clearly the expression of station and position, and not
[Cratylus] [2832] of motion. Again, the word istoria (enquiry) bears upon the face of it the
[Cratylus] [2833] stopping (istanai) of the stream; and the word piston (faithful) certainly
[Cratylus] [2834] indicates cessation of motion; then, again, mneme (memory), as any one may
[Cratylus] [2836] amartia and sumphora, which have a bad sense, viewed in the light of their
[Cratylus] [2839] and much the same may be said of amathia and akolasia, for amathia may be
[Cratylus] [2844] might find many other examples in which the giver of names indicates, not
[Cratylus] [2846] the opposite of motion.
[Cratylus] [2850] SOCRATES: What of that, Cratylus? Are we to count them like votes? and is
[Cratylus] [2851] correctness of names the voice of the majority? Are we to say of whichever
[Cratylus] [2858] with me. Were we not lately acknowledging that the first givers of names
[Cratylus] [2860] art which gave names was the art of the legislator?
[Cratylus] [2864] SOCRATES: Tell me, then, did the first legislators, who were the givers of
[Cratylus] [2875] which he named; are you still of that opinion?
[Cratylus] [2879] SOCRATES: And would you say that the giver of the first names had also a
[Cratylus] [2880] knowledge of the things which he named?
[Cratylus] [2886] view, the only way of learning and discovering things, is either to
[Cratylus] [2892] suppose that the givers of names had knowledge, or were legislators before
[Cratylus] [2895] CRATYLUS: I believe, Socrates, the true account of the matter to be, that
[Cratylus] [2899] SOCRATES: Then how came the giver of the names, if he was an inspired
[Cratylus] [2901] he made some names expressive of rest and others of motion? Were we
[Cratylus] [2904] CRATYLUS: But I suppose one of the two not to be names at all.
[Cratylus] [2907] expressive of rest, or those which are expressive of motion? This is a
[Cratylus] [2912] SOCRATES: But if this is a battle of names, some of them asserting that
[Cratylus] [2916] standard which, without employing names, will make clear which of the two
[Cratylus] [2917] are right; and this must be a standard which shows the truth of things.
[Cratylus] [2927] be of knowing them, except the true and natural way, through their
[Cratylus] [2935] names rightly given are the likenesses and images of the things which they
[Cratylus] [2941] things through the medium of names, and suppose also that you can learn
[Cratylus] [2943] clearer way; to learn of the image, whether the image and the truth of
[Cratylus] [2945] of the truth whether the truth and the image of it have been duly executed?
[Cratylus] [2947] CRATYLUS: I should say that we must learn of the truth.
[Cratylus] [2950] beyond you and me. But we may admit so much, that the knowledge of things
[Cratylus] [2957] by the appearance of such a multitude of names, all tending in the same
[Cratylus] [2958] direction. I myself do not deny that the givers of names did really give
[Cratylus] [2961] kind of whirlpool themselves, they are carried round, and want to drag us
[Cratylus] [2969] fair, or anything of that sort, for all such things appear to be in a flux;
[Cratylus] [2974] SOCRATES: And can we rightly speak of a beauty which is always passing
[Cratylus] [2988] observer approaches, then they become other and of another nature, so that
[Cratylus] [2995] all, if everything is in a state of transition and there is nothing
[Cratylus] [2997] continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of knowledge
[Cratylus] [3006] question hard to determine; and no man of sense will like to put himself or
[Cratylus] [3007] the education of his mind in the power of names: neither will he so far
[Cratylus] [3008] trust names or the givers of names as to be confident in any knowledge
[Cratylus] [3009] which condemns himself and other existences to an unhealthy state of
[Cratylus] [3013] have you be too easily persuaded of it. Reflect well and like a man, and
[Cratylus] [3014] do not easily accept such a doctrine; for you are young and of an age to
[Cratylus] [3018] have been considering the matter already, and the result of a great deal of