Plato's Cratylus

Plato's Cratylus

The Comedy of Language
Shane Ewegen
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/14/2013
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01044-5
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Plato’s dialogue Cratylus focuses on being and human dependence on words, or the essential truths about the human condition. Arguing that comedy is an essential part of Plato's concept of language, S. Montgomery Ewegen asserts that understanding the comedic is key to an understanding of Plato's deeper philosophical intentions. Ewegen shows how Plato’s view of language is bound to comedy through words and how, for Plato, philosophy has much in common with playfulness and the ridiculous. By tying words, language, and our often uneasy relationship with them to comedy, Ewegen frames a new reading of this notable Platonic dialogue.

Author Bio

S. Montgomery Ewegen is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College.


“This book will be a standard source for philosophers working on Plato's Cratylus—and, beyond that, it will be essential reading for everyone working on understanding the nature of logos in Plato's thinking.”
 — Robert Metcalf, University of Colorado, Denver

“This is so convincing a reading of Plato's Cratylus that it may well open up discussion of the dialogue and make it much more widely studied than it is presently.”
 — Drew A. Hyland, Trinity College

“Ewegen's monograph is a stimulating examination of an understudied issue. The project is an essential one, and Ewegen is good in demonstrating how the comic/tragic dichotomy can contribute to a deeper understanding of other tensions within the text. More studies like these are needed: studies that make use of philosophical debate in order to contribute to a broader philological understanding of Platonic dialogue.”
 — Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Table of Contents

1. First Words
2. Marking the Limits
3. A Question of Inheritance
4. The Nature of Nature
5. Technological Language
6. A Homeric Inheritance
7. What Words Will
8. The Tragedy of Cratylus
Conclusion: The Comedy of the Cratylus

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