By Geoffrey Bagwell
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Extra info for A study of Plato's ''Cratylus''.
52 Hermogenes acknowledges that weavers use shuttles to weave cloth (388c). 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.
In doing so, he brings λόκνη closer to nature, and invites Hermogenes to accept naturalism. Chen, however, does not inquire into the reasons behind Hermogenes‘ acceptance of this equivocation. Hermogenes has prepared himself to accept this stronger form of λόκνη through his admission that an expert is needed justify the present use of words. Thus coining a word justifies it subsequent use. Not just anyone can be a lawmaker. Only those who have expertise in lawmaking can be lawmakers (388e5; cf.
Names are true only insofar as they are parts of true statements and one applies them correctly to what they name. In addition, nowhere in the dialogue do Socrates and Hermogenes agree that names have truth-value by themselves. Socrates consistently emphasizes the role of names as part of statements when speaking of the truth-value of names. This suggests that names can be true or false only if they are 36 cf. Ackrill 1997, 37: The statement ‗Callias is a man‘ is ―true if and of if ‗Callias is true of something and ‗a man‘ is also true of that thing.
A study of Plato's ''Cratylus''. by Geoffrey Bagwell