The formal topic of the cratylus is correctness of names a hot topic in the late fifth century bc when the dialogue has its dramatic setting sophists like prodicus offered training courses in this subject sometimes perhaps meaning by it little more than lessons in correct diction but that . Cratylus if you please her i should explain to you socrates that our friend cratylus has been arguing about names he says that they are natural and not conventional not a portion of the human voice which men agree to use but that there is a truth or correctness in them which is the same for hellenes as for barbarians. Cratylus the heracleitean philosopher and hermogenes the brother of callias have been arguing about names the former maintaining that they are natural the latter that they are conventional cratylus affirms that his own is a true name but will not allow that the name of hermogenes is equally true
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