Plato: Cratylus (2841 words)

Mariapaola Bergomi (Università degli studi di Milano)
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Plato's Cratylus 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 Cratylus 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 Cratylus among the so-called “middle …

Citation: Bergomi, Mariapaola. "Cratylus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2017 [, accessed 12 May 2021.]

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