Etimologia e filosofia. Strategie comunicative del filosofo nel "Cratilo" di Platone

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Etymology and philosophy. Communication strategies of the philosopher in Plato's "Cratilo"

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[Autom. eng. transl.] The "Cratilo" is a great masterpiece of Plato's philosophical and literary genius: in it the problem of correctness by nature or convention of names is closely connected with the question of movement and with different series of etymologies. If many studies had already analyzed various sections and themes of dialogue, the problem of both the global and particular meaning of the etymologies and of the connection between these and the entire structure of the "Cratylus" remained to be clarified. My main discovery concerns an important key to understanding etymologies and, consequently, the complex architecture of the text. Plato has chosen to express his thoughts only in "Cratilo" only for hints, in a sort of "coded" writing, creating a very original "game", which is here reconstructed and deciphered for the first time: that of the "mechané", of the "theatrical machine". In analogy with the appearance of the deities in the "deus ex machina" of the tragedy, the philosopher in the etymologies, limits himself to hinting through an effective "communicative strategy" with doctrinal contents, which he does not specify further, due to his conception of writing philosophical. With the "mechane" the philosopher can proceed "faster", but "without accuracy" in writing in writing his own thought, that is to say out of metaphor, can "duplicate" the names, through phonetic changes, associations of "ancient" words or "barbarous", references to poetry, so as to introduce new and important themes for signs. The volume creates a Historical-Philosophical Commentary on the "Cratylus", from the perspective of the problem of etymologies and the Quiet and Movement dialectics, through sixteen Chapters which, after the semantic analysis of the term "mechané", retrace in a critical, systematic and punctual the various parts of the dialogue, with continuous references to the relative scientific literature. In the commentary it is documented through a lexical analysis of many terms present in the "Cratylus" and in the Platonic writings, carried out with the help of Platonic Lexics, that the central element of the dialogue, dedicated to an extremist disciple of Heraclitus, is the discussion of the relationship between the Movement and the Quiet, which imply each other. The etymologies allow, by transforming the names, to allude to the dialectic of Movement and Quiet in the various grades and scopes, cosmological, anthropological and ontological. I then presented in the different parts of the dialogue the development of the philosopher's dialectical procedure, both in the discussion with Hermogenes - involving the naturalistic thesis, in which the most important etymological series appear - and in the discussion with "Cratylus", in which the hypothesis emerges conventionalistic. The solution of the "enigma" of the "Cratylus", here interpreted and commented thoroughly, allows the reader to follow Plato by understanding the "game", without experiencing the "vertigo" of those who let themselves be carried away by the complex "vortex" of names, getting lost in the "maze of words" ingeniously constructed by the philosopher.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Etymology and philosophy. Communication strategies of the philosopher in Plato's "Cratilo"
Original languageItalian
PublisherVita e Pensiero
Number of pages671
ISBN (Print)88-343-1132-9
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameTemi metafisici e problemi del pensiero antico. Studi e testi


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