By Geoffrey Bagwell
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Extra resources for A study of Plato's ''Cratylus''.
If things have their own natures, the nature of things might serve as a useful criterion for determining the correctness of names. To this end, Socrates and Hermogenes turn to a discussion of action (πξάμηο). Robinson 1956, 124 complains that this discussion is vague and unconvincing, but, according to Baxter 1992, 39 and Kretzmann 1971, 128, it is intentionally so because Socrates wishes to show Hermogenes 46 Is it obvious that names are things? Berman 1993/4, 48–49, argues that whether names are things is crucial to Socrates‘ refutation.
53 Sedley 2003, 70–71, points out that ὁ λόκνο is an etymological pun on ὄλνκα, which suggests that laws create names in the same way ὁ λόκνο contracts into ὄλνκα. Such an etymology of ὄλνκα as ὁ λόκνο (though probably spurious) playfully demonstrates how one might make a name. Names are laws about how to combine and separate names (cf. ). 54 Demand 1975, 107, points out that ὁ λνκνζέηεο reinforces the previous pun: λνκνζέηεο is an etymological pun on ὄλνκα ζέζζαη. A maker of law is also a maker of names.
A carburetor is part of a car, which has the purpose of transporting people. Similarly, a statement has the purpose of teaching and names do not. This analogy, however, fails because one can use a name independently of a statement, which Robinson admits, while no one can use a carburetor independently of a car. 51 Many commentators mistake the purpose of a shuttle. They say that the purpose of a shuttle, according to Socrates, is to separate warp from woof (Ackrill 1997, 40). Socrates is careful, however, never to make such a mistake.