93. Cratylus by Plato (c.387-380 BC)

Plot:   Another philosophical dialogue featuring Socrates, this time attempting to discover if the names of things are arbitrarily assigned and agreed by people, or have some internal ‘rightness’ to their relation with their subject beyond human selection.

My thoughts:    OK, I admit defeat with Plato’s Socratic dialogues. This should have been a simple enough argument compared to some of the earlier dialogues, but I soon lost interest in trying to follow the Greek letters and words in the text. Much of Socrates’ explanations come across as sheer guesswork and the first of his two interlocutors Hermogenes, who is probably the worst yes-man in literature, is all too happy to concede every point to Socrates. When the great man’s imagination starts to run dry, he waves some definitions away as foreign imports or degraded from the truth. And his whole attitude that a few letters added or missing do not change the meaning of a name fills my order-loving soul with horror!

Personal rating:  2.

Next :  Lets get back to Xenophon, and see how he treats Socrates in his Memorabilia.

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