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  • Author or Editor: Mariapaola Bergomi x
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The following paper argues that Gorgias, and his anti-eleatic treatise Peri tou me ontos (PTMO), must be included among the critical points of reference of Plato’s Cratylus and, although Plato (as well as Aristotle) never mentions the treatise explicitly, that Gorgias’ linguistic conventionalism significantly influenced especially the third section of the dialogue and the arguments against Cratylus’ naturalism. The paper starts with some considerations on the importance of the PTMO, continues highlighting some interesting clues in the dialogue that may point to Gorgias as a philosopher and a philosophical character in Plato, and ends with some references to the arguments against Cratylus and especially to the argument on the impossibility of uttering false statements.

In: Plato’s Cratylus
In: The Philosophy of Spirituality


I shall discuss some aspects of Plato’s theory of language and linguistic conventionalism. My aim is to show that Plato’s approach to linguistics reflects first of all his personal position on the first generation (Protagoras, Gorgias, the Eristics) and especially the second generation (Isocrates) sophists; moreover, his personal conception of conventionalism is a response to Sophistic epistemological relativism. Indeed, Plato takes up and rereads Sophistic conventionalism in order to endorse a Socratic teaching method which is not only focused on the techne of language but carries meaningful messages and a philosophical content. I shall analyse some well known passages from Plato’s dialogues and I shall analyse some passages from Isocrates’ orations as well, in order to show (i) that Plato and Isocrates converge on the idea that it is necessary to build a new philosophical language (ii) that they diverge in the conception of technical language, the social nature of language and the goal of teaching virtue.

In: Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism
In: Méthexis