Comparing Cratylus And Wittgenstein's View Of Language

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Ashley Newman Language as an image of reality Wittgenstein and Plato, although very different philosophers, develop a similar view of language through their works of the Tractatus and Cratylus. In the tractatus Wittgenstein focuses on propositions where as Plato focuses on names through the Cratylus. Although these are different starting points, both arrive at a similar conclusion of what language offers. Both Plato and Wittgenstein offer an argument defining language as an image of reality. In addition both philosophers agree that this picture of reality seen through language must be validated in order to determine its truth or falsity. The dialogue Cratylus begins with bringing the origin of names into question. Cratylus suggests “that there is a correctness of name for each thing, one that belongs to it by nature.”(383a) Hermogenes on the other hand, offers a different idea that “No name belongs to a particular thing by nature, but only because of the rules and usage of those who establish the usage and…show more content…
Socrates and Hermogenes focus on first names, which they determine to be the names from which all other names are composed. After much dialogue Socrates offers that first names correspond to a thing because each of its letters and syllables correspond to an element of which it is composed. He relates this idea to the art of painting when he says, “It’s just the same as it is with painters”, (422d). This is a relatable parallel as envisioning the many elements of a painting such as colors, strokes and figures that make up a painting is easily seen as exactly like the different consonants, vowels and syllables that make up names. Through this comparison it becomes very clear that this outlook on names leads to the theory that language is a picture of

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