By Geoffrey Bagwell
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Extra resources for A study of Plato's ''Cratylus''.
385e, 435a8). Thus, Hermogenes‘ conventionalism amounts to a kind of linguistic anarchy. All names are correct because there cannot be an incorrect name. Moreover, since it is possible to change names, all names are correct because someone has at some time decided to use it. The view that anyone can coin a name and the argument that coining a name justifies its use, therefore, undermine the distinction between correct and incorrect names. If anyone is qualified to name things, and coining a name is enough to justify its use, then anyone can make a correct name.
Anyone who wishes, therefore, to use a shuttle correctly must use it in the way a weaver would. Likewise, anyone who wishes to use a name correctly must use it in the way a teacher would. Since weaving and naming are both actions that have their own nature, experts in these fields will use their tools correctly. Tools may be capable of performing various tasks, each with varying degrees of success, but Socrates argues that each tool is 50 Robinson 1956, 131–2, objects that statements (ιόγνη) not names are tools that distinguish things.
After Hermogenes grants this premise, Socrates divides statements into parts. He asks 28 Pfeiffer 1972, 90, and Richardson 1976, 135, imply that to construe ιόγνο as ―statement‖ in this context is anachronistic because it imposes a logical distinction between statements and arguments not found in Plato. Even if we construe ιόγνο as ―statement,‖ however, I will show that Plato still avoids a fallacy of division and equivocation. 29 This sentence resembles the claim Socrates attributes to Protagoras in the Theaetetus: ―πάλησλ ρξεκάησλ κέηξνλ ἄλζξσπνλ εἶλαη, ηῶλ κὲλ ὄλησλ ὡο ἔζηη, ηῶλ δὲ κὴ ὄλησλ ὡο νὐθ ἔζηηλ‖ (152a2–4).