Plato, Cratylus

Mariapaola Bergomi (Università degli studi di Milano)
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has often been defined as the first work on the philosophy of language in Western thought. Although other Platonic dialogues are concerned with the problem of language, the


is the very first work entirely dedicated to the problem of the correctness of names or words (

orthotēs onomatōn

, as stated by Hermogenes at the beginning of the dialogue, 383 a4-5), the ontology of language, and the practice of speaking in human communities. The issue of the date of composition is still open to debate, since the dialogue has been variously placed at different phases of Plato’s writing. The dominant interpretation includes the


among the so-called “middle dialogues” (i.e.,






etc.); however, because of the topics and the emphasis…

2841 words

Citation: Bergomi, Mariapaola. "Cratylus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2017 [, accessed 22 April 2024.]

13435 Cratylus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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